Romania ordered to recover $36.4 mln state aid for Blue Air airline

Credit: REUTERS/Bogdan Cristel

BRUSSELS, Feb 16 (Reuters) - EU competition regulators on Friday ordered Romania to recover 33.84 million euros ($36.4 million) in illegal state aid given to struggling Romanian airline Blue Air because its overhaul plan would not be able to restore its long-term viability.

The order from the European Commission followed a year-long investigation into Blue Air whose financial troubles dated from 2019.

The EU competition enforcer had in 2020 cleared a 28-million-euro public guarantee to cover Blue Air's pandemic-related losses and a 33.84-million-euro public guarantee on a rescue loan to cover the carrier's liquidity needs.

Romania, which took a 75% stake in Blue Air in 2022, subsequently proposed a restructuring plan for the carrier.

"The restructuring plan for Blue Air was not feasible, coherent and sufficiently far-reaching to restore the airline's long-term viability within a reasonable timeframe and without unduly distorting competition in the single market," the Commission said in a statement.

($1 = 0.9291 euros)

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee)

((; +32 2 585 2866; Reuters Messaging:

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