EC probes Austrian Airlines takeover

PHASE II of the European Commission (EC) anti-trust investigation into Lufthansa’s takeover of Austrian Airlines is now underway. Approval has already been given by the Albanian, Bosnian, Canadian, Israeli, Turkish, Ukranian and US authorities, with Serbia’s expected soon.

The takeover is subject to the EC approving a €500 million restructuring aid package from the Austrian government and making a ruling by the end of July. It has already expressed concerns that the takeover would make Lufthansa too powerful without significant changes. Proposed changes made by Lufthansa have been deemed not far-ranging enough.

Austria’s finance minister, Josef Proell, said that it was vital that approval be given as quickly as possible to stem the national carrier’s heavy and ongoing losses.

“Due to the economic situation and the acute situation on the air-traffic market…we want a quick solution in the next few weeks.”

“Lufthansa remains confident [we will] receive the necessary approvals with justifiable remedies,” the German company said in a statement.

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