European Commission (EC) approved (05-Aug-2013) the merger of US Airways and AMR Corporation under the EC merger regulation, subject to conditions. The Commission stated: "The decision is conditional upon the release of one daily slot pair at London Heathrow and of other commitments in order to induce entry on the London-Philadelphia route. In light of these comprehensive commitments, the Commission concluded that the transaction would not raise competition concerns." Commission VP in charge of competition policy Joaquin Almunia said: "The Commission could clear this transaction in the first phase given the commitments offered by the parties which address the competition concern we identified on the London-Philadelphia route. The commitments include a corresponding slot at London Heathrow as well as far-reaching feeder arrangements to induce entry by a new competitor on the route. We are therefore satisfied that the competitive dynamics will be maintained so as to ensure choice and quality of air services for passengers on this route." AMR Corporation chairman, president and CEO Tom Horton stated: "We are very pleased that the EU has approved the merger between American Airlines and US Airways. This represents one of the final milestones on our path to becoming the new American Airlines." [more - original PR - EC] [more - original PR - EC - II] [more - original PR - AMR/US Airways]
US Airways/American Airlines merger receives European Commission approval
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US airlines and the Cuba route awards Part 2: Cuba's smaller airports face a major influx
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Aside from the closely watched contest to win service to Havana, the US DoT also awarded service rights to nine other secondary Cuban cities and, not surprisingly, South Florida features prominently in those route assignments. Gauging accurate levels of demand in those markets could take some time to determine. With a 50-plus year absence of scheduled airline flights between the US and Cuba, there is no up-to-date data from which to measure demand patterns.
Although Cuba holds much promise, an ample level of guesswork will be necessary as airlines navigate dealing with the Cuban government in order to ensure a smooth service launch. Some level of passenger education is also necessary in order to create the right set of customer expectations for travel to Cuba.
(This is Part 2 in a series of reports examining route awards between the US and Cuba. Part 1 focused on awards rights from the US to Havana.)
"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.