The airport attempted to redirect FlyLAL’s claims to the Latvian state saying that it was only implementing the government’s decisions. “Hence the liability for reimbursement lies with the Republic of Latvia,” the Lithuanian Court of Appeals said in its 27 September decision.
The court upheld the interim precautionary measures against the airport. The court concluded that Riga Airport had failed to prove that its situation had changed so that there would be no difficulties in executing the court’s decision in future.
The airport may still challenge this decision at the Lithuanian Supreme Court.
The airport of Riga attempted to convince the court that it had applied discounts to Airbaltic in compliance with the Latvian government’s decisions. Moreover, the discounts were effective for all airline companies active in Riga.
“The claimant FlyLAL is only referring to the assumptions as regards potential unlawful agreement between the respondents and the discounts granted on the basis of that agreement, the size of those discounts, their use, the recipients of discounts, financial performance of the respondents,” the airport pointed out. It noted that a decision on violations made in applying the discounts, which Latvia’s competition watchdog adopted back in 2006, was annulled in July 2009 when the district administrative court of Riga terminated administrative proceedings.
Latvia's Competition Council ruled in 2006 that discounts offered by Riga Airport distorted the market and favored two companies - Airbaltic and Ireland's Ryanair.
FlyLAL seeks to prove that Riga Airport provided Airbaltic with discounts that were discriminatory against the Lithuanian airline.