Ryanair loses challenge against state aid for Condor

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AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Ryanair has lost its challenge against the 2019 government bailout of German charter airline Condor, as the EU's General Court ruled there was no reason to doubt the legitimacy of the aid.

Europe's biggest budget airline had won a first challenge against the rescue of Condor at the Luxembourg-based EU court in June 2021.

But the court on Wednesday said Ryanair had failed to demonstrate any grounds for doubt regarding the European Commission's handling of the aid application.

The EU executive in 2020 cleared a 550-million-euro ($580 million) German state-guaranteed loan to Condor, which had filed for insolvency in September 2019 after its parent company Thomas Cook collapsed.

"The applicant did not succeed in rebutting the Commission's findings that Condor's difficulties were the result mainly of the Thomas Cook group being placed into liquidation and not of an arbitrary allocation of costs within the group," the court said.

"The General Court dismisses the action in its entirety."

Condor operated a fleet of more than 50 aircraft before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ryanair has filed more than a dozen lawsuits against the Commission in recent years for allowing state aid to Lufthansa, Air France KLM and others, as well as against national schemes benefiting flag carriers.

It scored some initial victories last year when the General Court rejected aid given to KLM and Portugal's TAP, but that aid was later granted by the European Commission after it had addressed the court's concerns.

($1 = 0.9504 euros)

(Reporting by Bart Meijer; editing by Jason Neely)