Brussels, 20 February 2014
State aid: Commission approves investment aid for Czech Ostrava airport
The European Commission has found that a grant of CZK 68 million (€2.5 million) for the construction of ground lighting and illuminated signs at check points at the Czech airport of Ostrava is in line with EU state aid rules. The investment will enable Ostrava airport to attract regular traffic, in particular long-haul cargo traffic, without unduly distorting competition in the Single Market.
The Czech authorities notified plans to grant CZK 68 million (€2.5 million) to the regional airport of Ostrava (in the north-east of the Czech Republic, close to the Polish and Slovak borders) for the upgrading of taxiway centreline lights and illuminated signs at check points. The project will improve the efficiency of aircraft movements in low visibility and thereby contributes to the development of air traffic on a Trans-European Transport Networks (TEN-T) corridor.
The Commission's investigation found that the infrastructure will be open to all users and has satisfactory medium-term prospects. The state aid does not exceed the funding gap of the investment project nor the maximum allowed aid intensity. The competition with neighbouring airports will not be unduly distorted, as the nearest functioning airport in Brno is at 150 kilometres and 1 hour 23 minutes' drive from Ostrava airport.
The aid granted for this project is in line with the Commission's past decision making practice as well as with the new aviation state aid Guidelines adopted today.
Investment aid in favour of regional airports is in line with common EU state aid rules, when the airport is open to all users and has satisfactory medium-term prospects for the use of its infrastructure. The state aid must not exceed the funding gap (the difference between the expected income and the investment costs) of the project. For regional airports with less than 1 million passengers per year like Ostrava, the aid must not exceed 75% of the investment costs. Moreover, the investment must not lead to the creation of overcapacity, in particular when other airports with free capacity are located within 100 km or one hour's drive.
Today, the Commission adopted new state aid guidelines on aviation (see IP/14/172). The decision regarding Ostrava airport is fully in line with the principles set out in the new guidelines.
The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number SA.35847 in the State Aid Register on the DG Competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved. New publications of state aid decisions on the internet and in the Official Journal are listed in the State Aid Weekly e-News.