The European Commission (EC) approved today the takeover of Austrian Airlines by Deutsche Lufthansa AG of Germany after Lufthansa promised a set of remedies to remove the EC’s competition concerns.
“This case shows that consolidation in the airline sector is possible with proper remedies to safeguard consumers’ interests,” EC competition commissioner Neelie Kroes said in a statement.
The EC opened an in-depth investigation of the proposed takeover on July 1. The EC indicated then that the takeover, as originally presented, would have led to competition concerns on five routes, namely Vienna-Frankfurt, Vienna-Munich, Vienna-Stuttgart, Vienna-Cologne, and Vienna-Brussels.
To remove the concerns, Lufthansa submitted a comprehensive set of remedies, which includes commitments to offer slots according to an efficient and timely allocation mechanism.
The EC concluded that the commitments were likely to attract new operators or expand existing operators on the routes and thereby maintain effective competition for the benefit of passengers.
Lufthansa is the largest German airline with hubs at the Frankfurt and Munich airports. It recently acquired British Midland and SN Brussels Airlines. Austrian Airlines, based in Vienna, is Austria’s largest airline.