State aid: EU Commission approves Finnish State guarantee on €600 million loan to Finnair in the context of coronavirus outbreak

The European Commission has approved a Finnish aid measure consisting of a State guarantee on a €600 million loan to Finnair to mitigate the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the company.

The measure was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework adopted by the Commission on 19 March 2020, as amended on 3 April and 8 May 2020. Finnair is a major network airline operating in Finland.

Since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, as a result of the imposition of travel restrictions introduced by Finland and by many destination countries to limit the spread of the coronavirus, the company has suffered a significant reduction of its services resulting in a serious liquidity shortage.

The support measure notified by Finland will take the form of a State guarantee covering 90% of a €600 million loan granted to Finnair by a pension fund. Finnair requires the State-backed guarantee to obtain vital liquidity to face this difficult period, before an expected recovery in sales once the restrictions are lifted progressively.

Finland has also demonstrated that all other potential means to obtain liquidity on the markets have already been explored and exhausted. The Commission found that the Finnish measure is in line with the conditions under the Temporary Framework.

The Commission concluded that the measure is necessary, appropriate and proportionate to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of a Member State, in line with Article 107(3)(b) TFEU and the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. On this basis, the Commission approved the measureunder EU State aid rules.

More information on the Temporary Framework and other actions taken by the Commission to address the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic can be found here. The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number SA.56809 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.

Arianna Podesta –