Commission launches formal investigation into potential State aid involving Munich Airport
European Commission - IP/08/1199 23/07/2008
Brussels, 23rd July 2008
The European Commission has today decided to launch a formal investigation into financial arrangements concerning Terminal 2 at Munich Airport. The Commission investigation concerns certain loans which may have been granted at below-market rates and which may have benefited from public guarantees. The Commission has also concluded that the investments made by the publicly owned Flughafen München GmbH in the Terminal do not amount to state aid as the airport has operated as a private investor would in this respect. The Commission has also decided that the use of Munich Airport by Lufthansa does not involve any State aid.
In 1998 the publicly owned Flughafen München GmbH (FMG) concluded an agreement with the airline Lufthansa concerning the construction and operation of Terminal 2 at Munich Airport. According to the agreement FMG and Lufthansa created joint undertakings responsible for the construction and operation of Terminal 2. The allocation of risks and future losses incurred by FMG and Lufthansa is in proportion to their investment in the project.
On the basis of a complaint from a competing airline, the Commission launched an initial investigation into the financing of the construction of Terminal 2 and into the exclusive use arrangement between Lufthansa and FMG with regard to this terminal.
At this stage and on the basis of the information at its disposal, the Commission has doubts over whether loans by public banks to joint undertakings constructing and operating Terminal 2 were granted at conditions which could have been obtained under normal market conditions. There may also be public guarantees involved in the arrangements amounting to State aid. The Commission also has doubts regarding the rent paid for the use of land. The amounts involved can only be quantified on the basis of the investigation following a detailed examination.
At the same time, the Commission has reached the conclusion that the capital investment of FMG in the Terminal 2 project is free of any state aid elements because FMG acted as a rational investor given the need to build a new terminal. The Commission also considers that the use of Munich Airport by Lufthansa does not involve any State aid.
In accordance with Article 14 of Council Regulation (EC) No 659/1999, all unlawful aid can be subject to recovery from the recipient.