Ryanair dismisses AEA claim it relies on state support

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Ryanair has denied a claim by the Association of European Airlines (AEA) that it would have lost €305 million ($380 million) in the last financial year without state support.

The figure was part of research which AEA says was derived from publicly available financial documents, and was presented to the European Commission to highlight the impact of subsidies on commercial aviation in Europe.

"We showed it to some decision makers because something needs to be done, because the prices at Europe's so-called most cost efficient airlines are not sustainable without subsidies," says an AEA spokesperson.

Ryanair vigorously denies AEA's suggestion that its agreements with airports qualify as state support, saying: "This is a false claim by our competitors. The European courts in December 2008 already dismissed similar European Commission claims against Ryanair when it found, in the Charleroi case, that Ryanair's airport agreements complied with EU competition rules.

"The Commission didn't even appeal this court ruling. Ryanair's arrangements with all EU airports comply with competition rules."

In May, Ryanair reported that its net profits for the year to March 2012 were up by one quarter, reaching €503 million.