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Air tax victory for Ryanair

IRISH air travel tax has been branded unfair by the EU Commission. In 2009, Ireland introduced an air travel tax for flights leaving Irish airports.

The tax was set at €2 for destinations at a maximum of 300km from Dublin and at €10 for all others.

The EU Commission has now ordered Ireland to recover the advantage from all airlines that benefited from it. The commission found that the lower rate favoured flights within Ireland and to nearby parts of the UK, giving the companies concerned an economic advantage over their competitors.

Ryanair, owned by Michael O'Leary, above, welcomed the ruling. "Ryanair was the original complainant in this case," a company statement said. "Since Ryanair operated very few flights to/from/within Ireland at this lower rate, it has no material exposure to any recovery."

In a separate conclusion, the commission found that the financial arrangements between the airport of Tampere Pirkkala (southern Finland) and Ryanair do not constitute state aid and are therefore perfectly legal.