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IAG Readies Remedies for EU Scrutiny in Air Europa Acquisition

 |  January 16, 2024

International Airlines Group (IAG), the owner of British Airways, anticipates a comprehensive investigation by EU antitrust regulators into its proposed acquisition of Spain’s Air Europa. The announcement was made by IAG’s Chief Executive, Luis Gallego, on Tuesday, revealing the company’s proactive approach in addressing potential concerns raised by European Commission authorities.

The acquisition of Air Europa is a pivotal move for IAG, aligning with the broader trend of consolidation sweeping through the airline sector. Concurrently, other major players, such as Germany’s Lufthansa and Korean Air, are making strategic moves to solidify their positions in the industry. Lufthansa is eyeing a minority stake in Italy’s state-owned ITA Airways, while Korean Air is in pursuit of acquiring Asiana.

In light of the heightened scrutiny by EU regulators in recent times, IAG is taking preemptive measures to navigate the regulatory landscape effectively. The European Commission has adopted a more stringent approach, scrutinizing deals more closely and, in some instances, insisting on divestment of assets to address competition concerns, rather than mere adjustments to routes or airport slots.

Read more: British Airways Owner IAG To Buy Air Europa

Luis Gallego emphasized the company’s commitment to transparency and cooperation with the European Commission, stating, “We have informed the (European Commission) case team that we will formally present remedies in Phase 2 to allow them to fully assess the viability and relevance of our proposals.” This proactive stance is aimed at facilitating a smoother approval process and addressing any potential reservations the regulators may have.

The Phase 2 presentation of remedies signifies IAG’s dedication to engaging in a constructive dialogue with the European Commission, demonstrating their willingness to make necessary adjustments to ensure the acquisition aligns with antitrust regulations. The move reflects the changing dynamics in the aviation industry, where companies are increasingly conscious of regulatory expectations and are taking proactive steps to navigate complex approval processes.

As the industry witnesses a wave of consolidation, the outcome of IAG’s proposed acquisition of Air Europa will undoubtedly have broader implications for the competitive landscape in European aviation. The success of the remedies presented in Phase 2 will play a crucial role in determining the fate of this strategic move by IAG and its potential impact on the future of the airline sector in the region.

Source: Reuters