Ryanair has lashed out at a decision by the German government to prop up the privatised flag carrier Lufthansa with a €9 billion bailout, claiming the airline group is “addicted to State aid”. Lufthansa secured the taxpayer-funded rescue package on Monday after weeks of back and forth negotiations and claims the airline would otherwise go into administration.
“Whenever there is a crisis, Lufthansa’s first reflex is to put its hand in the German Government’s pocket,” blasted Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary. “Lufthansa claims it needs another €9 billion from the German Govt, €1 billion from the Swiss Govt, €800 million from the Austrian Govt, and €500 million from the Belgian Govt as it stumbles around Europe sucking up as much State Aid as it can possibly gather,” he continued.
O’Leary promised to appeal the decision which first needs to be approved by the European Commission. Competition regulators may require Lufthansa and its subsidiaries to forfeit sought after takeoff and landing slots, although EU leaders have previously said they would suspend usual rules on State aid because of the unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is deeply ironic that the German Govt, which lectures all other EU countries about respecting EU rules, has no difficulty breaking the State Aid rules when it comes to Lufthansa,” countered O’Leary.
Ryanair claims “unlawful” State aid awarded to flag carriers across the Continent so far during this crisis include over €10 billion for the Air France-KLM Group, €3.5 billion for Alitalia and €800 million for SAS.
O’Leary argues that current bailout packages will unfairly distort the market because “well run” airlines don’t have access to the huge tax-payer funded subsidies that other carrier’s are now enjoying. The often outspoken airline executives claims Lufthansa will use the funds to sell below cost tickets to muscle out competition.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.