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ITA-Lufthansa: Brussels reassures about the wedding

Vestager (Competition): "The rejection of a merger is a very rare event"

The rejection of a merger between companies is a "very rare event". With these words, the European Commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager, reassures the green light for the marriage between the Italian national carrier ITA Airways and the German Lufthansa. The latter offered 325 million euros to acquire 41% of the Italian airline. Reassuring signs that, however, do not reassure everyone.

"We are still discussing how to remedy the competition concerns raised by the ITA-Lufthansa transaction, as we do in every case". “When there are competition issues it is because there is a risk that consumers will have to pay higher prices or not have as much choice as they might want". "In the vast majority of our cases we give the green light. Then there are mergers in which remedies are needed", explained Vestager during a press conference.

Brussels still considers the remedies proposed by ITA and Lufthansa insufficient: the antitrust authorities believe that their merger could create monopolies or positions of strength, particularly on long-haul routes to the United States and Canada. On these routes, the most profitable, Berlin and Rome do not want to give in, but Europe is asking for a few more sacrifices. An issue that worries not only ITA and Lufthansa, but also numerous European unions, including the Italian unions Anpac, Uiltrasporti, Ugl TA, Filt Cgil, Fit-Cisl.

Vestager's reassuring words seem like a direct message to Lufthansa. In other words: we need to insist on dialogue with the European Competition Commission, find a meeting point with the consumer guarantor; otherwise you risk appeals from competing airlines, in particular low-cost airlines, which are very aggressive about the sale of airport slots.

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AVIONEWS - World Aeronautical Press Agency