|Brussels kills Ryanair bid for carrier
The European Commission said it barred a third attempt by low-cost airline pioneer Ryanair to take over its Irish rival Aer Lingus due to concerns passengers would lose out.
The “merger would have harmed consumers by creating a monopoly or a dominant position on 46 routes ... this would have reduced choice and, most likely, would have led to price increases for consumers,'' the commission said in a statement, AFP reports.
It said Ryanair offered several remedies to meet these competition concerns but they “fell short’’ of what was needed.
Ryanair's proposals “were simply inadequate to solve the very serious competition problems which this acquisition would have created,’’ EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said in the statement.
Ryanair tried in 2007 to take control of Aer Lingus, in which the Irish government holds a major stake, but the commission prohibited the deal on competition grounds.
The company tried again in 2009 but decided to withdraw when it became clear Brussels remained opposed.
“In short, customers' travelling options would have been substantially reduced and it is unlikely that competitors would have been able to sufficiently constrain the merged entity in its market behavior. Higher prices for passengers would have been the likely outcome.''