Ryanair has accused the EU of acting bizarrely and making decisions on a political and not a commercial basis.
In its annual report, the no-frills airline declared that it had offered a more comprehensive remedies package for Aer Lingus than the package offered by British Airways for British Midlands.
“It is bizarre that the EU can wave through BA’s offer for British Midland in phase 1 with few remedies, yet months later reject Ryanair’s offer for Aer Lingus, which was accompanied by a revolutionary remedies package delivering two upfront buyers to open competing bases in Dublin and Cork airports,” the company said in a statement.
“We have no doubt that this was yet another politically motivated decision by Europe’s competition authority, and it is inexplicable in the context of its stated policy of promoting European airline consolidation.”
Despite the EU objection to the takeover of Aer Lingus effectively ending any chance of a merger of the airlines ever being completed, Ryanair is subject to a second investigation by the UK Competition Commission into its Aer Lingus holding.
Ryanair is accusing the UK Competition Commission of wasting its time by going ahead with this investigation.
“Given that the UK Competition Commission has a legal duty of sincere co-operation with the EU, we believe they cannot make a contrary finding, and so this spurious and time-wasting inquiry into a six-and-a-half-year old minority stake between two Irish airlines, one of whom [Aer Lingus] has a tiny presence in the UK market, should now be abandoned in the light of the EU Commission’s finding that competition between Ryanair and Aer Lingus has intensified,” the airline said in its annual report.