The European Commission (EC) is considering fining non-European Union (EU) airlines that received government aid following the 11 September terrorists attacks. US airlines are being accused of using the $5 billion US government package to undercut European carriers on price. European airlines, which have been earmarked €250 million ($220 million) in compensation funds, have to "play it by the book" on state-aid. But their US competitors on international routes "are not subject to similar fair trade rules", says Loyola de Palacio, EC commissioner for transport and energy. If an inquiry finds "proof", the commission would adopt "provisional measures", according to Brussels. Fines would be based on "the amount of aid granted to those airlines". US airlines have criticised the move, insisting that Washington's help, which includes a $10-billion federal loan guarantee, is compensation for the four-day shutdown of the US air traffic control system.

Source: Flight International