EC sceptical over proposed Gdynia airport

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European Commission regulators are inviting comments following the expression of strong doubts that plans to convert a Polish military airport to civil use involve state aid.

Local authorities aim to convert Gdynia-Kosakowo airport to provide low-cost carriers with an alternative to Gdansk airport just 25km away. The investment will cost €37.2 million ($49 million).

But the Commission doubts the overall capital injections from the public shareholders, amounting to €51.9 million, are in line with market-investor principles.

In a newly-published invitation for comments, the Commission is sceptical that – with the uncongested Gdansk airport so near – the projected traffic and revenues from Gdynia can be achieved, particularly given that passenger fees will be higher.

“A reduced airport charge, which would be comparable with the level of charges paid at other Polish airports, would result in a negative equity value,” it says.

It believes the financing of operating losses at the airport would amount to operating aid, in breach of state-aid regulations, and that the investment aid is similarly unwarranted given the proximity of Gdansk airport which is “efficiently” serving the region.