The European Commission (EC) has sanctioned Germany’s plan to provide a $1.9bn (€1.7bn) grant to Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER), which has been hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.
BER is managed by state-owned airport operator Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg (FBB).
FBB incurred losses due to Covid-19-related travel curbs that were imposed in Germany and other countries globally and led to the deterioration of the company’s equity and liquidity position.
In this regard, Germany informed EC about its intent to provide the grant under the Temporary Framework for the recapitalisation of FBB, allowing its public shareholders including Länder Berlin and Brandenburg and the Federal Republic of Germany to pump the capital into FBB’s capital reserve.
The grant will be used by FBB to repay the subsidised interest loans that it secured from the Commission in August 2020.
EC identified that Germany’s recapitalisation measure is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework and approved the measures under EU State aid rules.
The measure aims to improve FBB’s financial and liquidity position in the exceptional situation caused by the pandemic while maintaining necessary safeguards to limit competition distortions.
EC executive vice-president Margrethe Vestager said: “Airports have been hit particularly hard by the coronavirus outbreak and the travel restrictions in place.
“With this measure, Germany will contribute to reinforcing Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg’s equity position and help the company face the economic effects of the outbreak.
“At the same time, the public support will come with strings attached to limit undue distortions of competition. We continue working in close cooperation with the Member States to ensure that national support measures can be put in place as quickly and effectively as possible, in line with EU rules.”
In July last year, EC gave the nod to an Italian scheme to compensate airports and ground-handling operators affected by the pandemic.