EU authorises Aer Lingus acquistion by IAG

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Dec 21, 2015: The European Commission (EU) has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Irish airline Aer Lingus by International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG). IAG is the holding company of British Airways, Iberia and Vueling. The clearance is conditional upon commitments offered by the parties to address the Commission’s concerns regarding the transaction as notified.

The Commission had concerns that the merged entity would have faced insufficient competition on several routes. The Commission also found that the merged entity would have prevented Aer Lingus from continuing to provide traffic to the long-haul flights of competing airlines on several routes.

Margrethe Vestager, European Commissioner in charge of competition policy, said, "By obtaining significant concessions from the airlines the Commission has ensured that air passengers will continue to have a choice of airlines at competitive prices after IAG's takeover of Aer Lingus. The five million passengers travelling each year from Dublin and Belfast to London will be able to choose among several strong carriers. And we are also protecting passengers travelling on connecting flights between Ireland and the rest of the world."

The clearance decision is conditional upon certain commitments, which address the Commission’s concerns. One amongst them is the release of five daily slot pairs at London-Gatwick airport to facilitate the entry of competing airlines on routes from London to both Dublin and Belfast . Secondly ,Aer Lingus will continue to carry connecting passengers to use the long-haul flights of competing airlines out of London-Heathrow, London-Gatwick, Manchester, Amsterdam, Shannon and Dublin .

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