EU court backs blocking of Ryanair's merger with Aer Lingus

08:15, July 07, 2010      

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It was right for the European Commission to block Ryanair's merger with its Irish rival Aer Lingus due to competition concerns, a European Union (EU) court ruled Tuesday.

Ryanair launched a public bid for the entire share capital of Aer Lingus in 2006, but was blocked by the commission. The EU's antitrust watchdog found that the merger would have removed the intense competition between the two leading Irish airlines, harming more than 14 million passengers each year.

The low-cost airline giant brought an action against that decision before the EU's general court. But the Luxembourg-based panel dismissed Ryanair's appeal and acknowledged the commission's analysis of the competitive effects and the proposed remedies.

Following the commission's decision, Ryanair bought further shares, bringing its stake in Aer Lingus's capital to 29.3 percent. Aer Lingus then requested the commission to order Ryanair to divest all of its shares in Aer Lingus but the commission refused to grant that request, stating that it was not within its power.

The EU's general court also endorsed the commission's assessment that it had no jurisdiction to require Ryanair to divest its minority shares in Aer Lingus.

"The combination of Ryanair and Aer Lingus would have created a dominant position on 35 routes to the detriment of more than 14 million EU passengers that travel to and from Ireland each year," said commission vice president Joaquin Almunia.

"I am happy that the commission's approach to airline mergers which can hurt citizens has been confirmed by the court," Almunia said.

Source:Xinhua

(Editor:黄蓓蓓)

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