Investigations to be launched into “state support”
The European Commission and the European Free Trade Association’s Surveillance Authority have announced that they are launching formal, in-depth investigations into the latest tranche of support by the governments of Sweden, Denmark and Norway for the ailing flag carrier SAS.
The assistance took the form of a revolving credit facility (RCF) last year in the amount of SEK 3.5 billion (€400 million), supported by the three states. It followed other measures by the governments in support of SAS in 2009 and 2010.
The European Low Fares Airline Association welcomed the announcement. It said that the need for the 2012 state-supported RCF was evidence of the failure of the earlier interventions by the states in support of SAS, all of which had been the subject of complaints to the European Commission by the low-cost association.
“Bolstered by such successive propping up, involving states’ use of public funds, SAS has embarked on a program of fleet renewal, route expansion and price-cutting, to the detriment of competitor airlines,” the European Low Fares Airline Association said in a statement.
[image courtesy SAS]