Official Journal of the European Union

C 37/27

Action brought on 29 November 2007 — Ryanair v Commission

(Case T-441/07)

(2008/C 37/43)

Language of the case: English


Applicant: Ryanair Ltd (Dublin, Ireland) (represented by: E. Vahida, lawyer)

Defendant: Commission of the European Communities

Form of order sought

To declare in accordance with Article 232 EC that the Commission has failed to act pursuant to its obligations under the EC Treaty by not having defined a position with respect to the applicant's complaint lodged with the Commission on 3 November 2005 followed by a letter of formal notice of 2 August 2007;

to order the Commission to pay the entire costs, including the costs incurred by the applicant in the proceedings even if, following the bringing of the action, the Commission takes action which in the opinion of the Court removes the need to give a decision or if the Court dismisses the application as inadmissible; and

to take such further action as the Court may deem appropriate.

Pleas in law and main arguments

It is submitted as the main plea, that the Commission has failed to conduct a diligent and impartial examination of the complaint lodged by the applicant, alleging the grant of unlawful aid in the form of advantages conferred by the Italian State to Volare, through the write-off of around EUR 20 million in debts owned by Volare to Italian airports and reductions in airport charges and fuel costs. Alternatively, as a subsidiary plea, the applicant submits that the Commission failed to define its position on the applicant's complaint alleging anticompetitive discrimination and, hence, an infringement of Article 82 EC.

The applicant claims that the measures that are subject to its complaint constitute State aid, fulfilling all conditions set out in Article 87(1) EC. Furthermore, the applicant contends that, in the event the Court found that some of the advantages conferred to Volare were not attributable to the State, because Italian airports might have determined their charges in an autonomous manner, the applicant submits that such advantages would amount to anticompetitive discrimination which cannot be justified by objective reasons and hence, infringes Article 82 EC.

The applicant further submits that the Commission was under an obligation, in accordance with the provisions of Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2003 (1) and Commission Regulation (EC) No 773/2004 (2), to carefully examine the evidence of fact and of law brought to its notice by the complainant in order to decide, within a reasonable time, whether it should initiate proceedings to establish the breach or reject the complaint. The Commission did not take any decision following receipt of the complaint, confirming the breach or dismissing the complaint after having informed the applicant pursuant to Article 7 of Regulation (EC) No 773/2004, or, finally, issue a fully reasoned decision not to pursue the complaint due to lack of Community interest.

As a result, the applicant claims that a prima facie infringement of competition law existed and the Commission should have taken less than 21 months to reach such a conclusion and, accordingly, to initiate proceedings. The duration of the Commission's failure to act therefore exceeded reasonable limits.

(1)  Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2003 of 16 December 2002 on the implementation of the rules on competition laid down in Articles 81 and 82 of the Treaty (Text with EEA relevance) (OJ L 1, p. 1).

(2)  Commission Regulation (EC) No 773/2004 of 7 April 2004 relating to the conduct of proceedings by the Commission pursuant to Articles 81 and 82 of the EC Treaty (Text with EEA relevance) (OJ L 123, p. 18).