The European Commission has approved a Greek state grant of €120 million for flag carrier Aegean Airlines.

The Commission said that the package is in line with EU state aid rules, as it is aimed at “compensating the airline for the losses directly caused by the coronavirus outbreak and the travel restrictions imposed by Greece and other destination countries to limit the spread of the coronavirus”.

The state aid relates to losses suffered between March 23 and June 30, 2020, when national lockdowns and travel restrictions were at their height due to the onset of Covid-19.

The Commission assessed the measure under Article 107(2)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), which allows for state aid to be granted “for damage directly caused by exceptional occurences”.

Aegean flew around 15 million passengers in 2019, and in February this year unveiled new livery, logo, branding and cabin interiors, marking what the carrier called at the time “a new era of growth”.

Aegean Airlines unveils new look

Prior to Covid-19 the airline was serving UK destinations including Edinburgh, Gatwick, Heathrow and Manchester.

Commenting on the news executive vice-president Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said:

“The aviation industry is one of the sectors that has been hit particularly hard by the coronavirus outbreak. This measure will enable Greece to compensate Aegean Airlines for the damage directly suffered due to the travel restrictions necessary to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

“We continue working with Member States to find workable solutions to support companies in these difficult times, in line with EU rules.”