Ryanair Accuses Bulgaria's National Carrier of Getting Illicit State Aid
Irish airline Ryanair on Tuesday said it could refer Bulgaria to the European Commission over illicit state aid allegedly handed to flag carrier Bulgaria Air.
Data on which Ryanair bases its claims suggests Bulgaria Air had failed to transfer EUR 30 M in fees for nearly three years to Sofia Airport, but handed to its shareholders dividends to the tune of EUR 8 M, David O'Brian, Sales Manager at the company, is quoted by Dnevnik.bg as saying.
"It is not fair when one company doesn't pay and the others are required to do so," O'Brien argued.
Bulgaria Air later fended off his remarks in a statement, arguing the accusations were an example of unfair competition hampering the business environment and adding it had "normal" relations with Sofia Airport, but also with other airports such as those in Varna and Burgas.
It added it had turned to its legal advisors following Ryanair's claims.
Its remarks about Varna and Burgas referred to Ryanair's criticism for the fact that national carrier also has 40% shares in the airports in the two the Black Sea cities.
The dispute comes months before it is to add as many as 21 destinations across Europe from Sofia, after only having flown to and from Plovdiv Airport.
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