European Commission (EC) launched (24-Feb-2010) an investigation into a loan granted to ČSA Czech Airlines by the State-owned entity, Osinek, to determine if these actions are compatible with the EU State aid rules. The EC stated that it currently "cannot exclude that the loan and its subsequent de-collateralisation - which the airline will use to finance costs linked to the operation of the company - constitutes aid that is incompatible with the internal market". On the basis of a loan agreement which was concluded between Osinek and ČSA–Czech Airlines on 30-Apr-2009, a loan amounting to CZK2.5 billion (EUR94 million) was granted by Osinek. Subsequently, on 26-Oct-2009, the Czech Government decided to free up the assets which secured the loan provided by Osinek in order to allow ČSA to use this collateral to secure commercial loans and continue in business, meaning that the Osinek loan is no longer secured by assets. Accordingly, the EC will "particularly assess whether a private investor would have acted in the same way as the Czech Government".[more]
European Commission launches investigation into state loan granted to Czech Airlines
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"Too little competition in the American (airline) market". EU head: US consolidation goes too far
At the ACI 26th General Assembly in Athens on 21-Jun-2016 the European Commission's DG Competition Henrik Mørch said that the EC has generally approved JVs but is closely watching consolidation trends. As reported in a CAPA news brief, Mr Mørch said that the EC is interested in how much consolidation can be justified with efficiency gains for the consumer.
He added that, while the European aviation market is more fragmented than the American market, taking the level of consolidation that exists in the US and applying it to Europe is "not necessarily something we would advocate for...there's too little competition in the American market in our view".
However, the level of concentration on the North Atlantic, the principal market where JVs have been approved by the Commission, is greater than in North America – the market that Mr Mørch considers too concentrated. Meanwhile, European fragmentation weighs heavily on its airlines' yields and holds back their profitability.