EU approves Lufthansa bid for SN Brussels Airlines

23rd June 2009, Comments 0 comments

EU regulators on Monday approved Lufthansa's plans to buy SN Brussels Airlines after the German airline dealt with concerns that the deal may hurt competition, the European Commission said.

BRUSSELS - The commission, Europe's top antitrust watchdog, cleared the deal after Lufthansa offered "an efficient and timely slot mechanism" which would allow new entrants to run flights on four key routes between Belgium and Germany, and Belgium and Switzerland.

After those remedial moves, the European Commission decided that "the proposed transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or any substantial part of it."

In January, the commission had opened an in-depth probe into the deal amid concerns that it might create a monopoly on the key routes Brussels-Frankfurt, Brussels-Munich, Brussels-Hamburg and Brussels-Zurich.

"In light of the current consolidation process in the European airline sector, the commission takes great care to safeguard the interests of consumers in having a competitive choice of airline services in Europe," said EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes.

"The comprehensive remedies package offered by Lufthansa will facilitate market entry on the affected routes and thereby create alternative choices for passengers," she added.

The German carrier said in September that it planned to acquire full control of Brussels Airlines, the surviving rump of Belgium's former flag carrier Sabena.


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