Ryanair wins court ruling over subsidy

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Budget airline Ryanair today won a court ruling not to repay Belgium a 4.5 million euro (£4 million) subsidy.

The European Union's appeals court said anti-trust regulators made mistakes when they ordered Ryanair to pay back the public money it got to help it run flights from Charleroi airport.

The EU Court of First Instance said the European Commission should have looked at whether the money from Belgian state investment companies could be seen as a normal market investment - and not state help.

In February 2004, EU regulators ruled parts of Ryanair's contract with Charleroi were illegal and ordered the airline to make changes.

Charleroi was granting the airline up to 90 per cent of its costs over 15 years.