The EU Commission has begun an in-depth investigation — known as a Phase II review — of the proposed merger between Ryanair and Aer Lingus, a development that brought up competition concerns when the commission originally looked into the deal. The issue, according to an EU press release, stems from the fact that “on a large number of European routes … the two airlines are each other’s closest competitors.” A final decision on the acquisition is expected by January 16.
Ryanair recently appealed the EU’s decision to launch a deeper investigation. The appeal was subsequently denied. Ryanair currently owns 29.82 percent of Aer Lingus, a fact that is currently being examined by the UK Competition Commission.
This is the second time Ryanair has attempted to acquire Aer Lingus. In a previous ruling, released on July 6, 2010, the General Court of the European Union prevented the merger due to competition concerns. Ryanair officials also notified the EU two years later, in 2009, of another impending deal, but soon withdrew their plans. What might be different this time around, according to a press release, is that both airlines have increased services on which they operate the same routes.
According to HI 2012 numbers released last month by Aer Lingus, cargo revenue finished at €23.3 million, a 5.9-percent, year-over-year, increase. Total revenue stood at €626.3 million, a 10.1-percent, year-over-year, increase.