The European Commission has found a €12 million Maltese aid measure in favour of the owner and operator of Malta International Airport plc to be in line with EU state aid rules.
This measure aims at compensating the operator of the airport for the damage suffered during the period between 21 March and 30 June 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic and the travel restrictions imposed by Malta to limit the spread of the virus. As a result, the Malta international airport operator experienced a steep decline in traffic and profitability over this period. The aid will take the form of a direct grant.
The Commission assessed the measure under Article 107(2)(b) TFEU, which enables the Commission to approve State aid measures granted by Member States to compensate specific companies or sectors for the damage directly caused by exceptional occurrences, such as the coronavirus outbreak. The Commission found that the Maltese measure will compensate for damage that is directly linked to the coronavirus pandemic. It also found that the measure is proportionate, as the compensation does not exceed what is necessary to make good the damage. The Commission, therefore, concluded that the damage compensation measure is in line with EU State aid rules.