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State Aid

State Aid: Charter Fund Scheme for Northern Norway approved



Today, the EFTA Surveillance Authority approved the Charter Fund Scheme for Northern Norway. The Authority opened its formal investigations into the Charter Fund in June 2012 after notificiation by Norwegian authorities. Today's decision marks the closure of the investigation.

The objective of the Charter Fund is to increase the use of airports in Northern Norway and thereby to contribute to economic development in the region. The three northern counties of Norway (Nordland, Troms and Finnmark) will establish a fund which will cover parts of the costs for tour operators flying charter flights to Northern Norway. The Charter Fund will cover up to a quarter of the charter costs for aircraft which are 60% to 80% full. The aid measure is intended to reduce the economic risk involved in operating air charters to Northern Norway.

Northern Norway is one of Europe's least populated areas and it suffers from depopulation. The three northern counties fall within the definition of “least populated regions” as set out in the Authority's Regional Aid Guidelines. In order to prevent depopulation and encourage employment in the region the Norwegian Government focuses in particular on tourism in its policy for Northern Norway. The Charter Fund is intended to increase tourism in the low season, thereby contributing to more year-round jobs in Northern Norway.

The Authority's decision will have a duration of three years. In taking this decision, the Authority has considered comments received from several third parties.

A non-confidential version of today's Decision will be published in the register of state aid decisions on the Authority's website, normally within a month.

For further information, please contact:

Mr. Per Andreas Bjørgan
Director, Competition and State Aid Directorate
(+32) 2 286 18 36

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