The EFTA Surveillance Authority approves continued and increased support to long-distance bus and passenger boat services in Norway as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic

COVID-19 Pandemic: ESA approves continued and increased support to long-distance bus and passenger boat services in Norway*

The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) has today approved a prolongation of a scheme to compensate losses incurred by operators of long-distance bus and passenger boat services due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The scheme has been prolonged until 15 August 2021 with an increased budget of NOK 200 million (EUR 19m).

The sector continues to suffer lost revenues due to travel restrictions and social-distancing measures. A reduction in travel and drop in passenger numbers has led to a significant loss in revenues. It still remains uncertain when demand and turnover will return to normal levels.

ESA first approved the compensation scheme for long-distance bus and passenger boat services on 20 July 2020. Amendments aiming to make it easier for operators to access funding were approved on 25 November 2020.

Today ESA approves Norway’s proposal to prolong the period during which operators can be granted compensation and to increase the scheme’s total budget to NOK 200m (19m). Overall, the scheme pursues the same objective of ensuring the continuity of commercial long-distance bus and passenger boat services. The notified prolongation will cover losses incurred from beginning of September 2020 to the end of June 2021.

Norway notified the measure on 14 December 2020.

ESA’s decision can be found here.

*This is the original title of the press release. The title above has been amended in order to match the e-Competitions format. Individual authors are welcome to provide original independent commentaries on the case law. Articles are subject to approval by the Board of e-Competitions Bulletin before publication based on the Editorial Policy (click here).

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EFTA Surveillance Authority, The EFTA Surveillance Authority approves continued and increased support to long-distance bus and passenger boat services in Norway as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, 17 December 2020, e-Competitions Competition Law & Covid-19, Art. N° 98473

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