Research Handbook on European State Aid Law
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Research Handbook on European State Aid Law

Edited by Erika Szyszczak

This timely new Handbook reflects on current issues that confront State aid law and policy in the EU.
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Chapter 6: The Intersection between the Market Economy Investor Principle and the One Time-last Time Principle in the Context of Airline Restructuring Operations

Antigoni Lykotrafiti


Antigoni Lykotrafiti I. INTRODUCTION The chapter examines the intersection between the market economy investor principle (MEIP) and the one time-last time principle in the context of airline restructuring operations. The MEIP is a filtering mechanism designed to distinguish between cases of aid and cases of normal commercial transactions. In that sense, it constitutes the first step in a State aid analysis, being concerned with whether Article 107(1) TFEU applies or not. The one time-last time principle is a means to achieve optimal allocation of resources and therefore applies in a second step, when a finding of aid has already been reached and a compatibility assessment is pending. Since the principles in question are conceptually distinct, their intersection could not be easily ascertained. The only point where they seem to intersect is at the very end of a negative MEIP analysis and the very beginning of a compatibility analysis, that is, when a finding of aid at the end of the MEIP analysis triggers the application of the one time-last time principle at the beginning of the compatibility analysis. Nevertheless, the application of the principles in the context of airline restructuring cases reveals a constant intersection. This is so because the MEIP is re-applied during the second step of the analysis, following a finding of incompatibility by virtue of the one time-last time limitation. Whilst in principle such a finding should entail the end of the State aid analysis and the prohibition of new aid, in practice it inaugurates the...

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