European Commission opened (29-Aug-2012) an in-depth investigation (phase II) under the EU Merger Regulation into Ryanair's proposed acquisition of Aer Lingus. The Commission's preliminary investigation into the proposed takeover indicated potential competition concerns. Both carriers are currently main operators from Dublin Airport and closely compete on a number of European routes. The Commission stated, "the takeover could therefore lead to the elimination of actual and potential competition on a large number of these routes." The Commission will investigate the proposed merger in-depth to determine whether its initial concerns are confirmed or not. The Commission has 90 working days, until 14-Jan-2012, to decide whether the proposed takeover "would significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA)". Meanwhile Ryanair reacted (29-Aug-2012) to the European Commission's decision by withdrawing its takeover proposal. Ryanair said it will rebid for Aer Lingus if the Commission clears its offer following its phase II review. Aer Lingus welcomed the developments. [more - original PR - European Commission] [more - original PR - Ryanair]
European Commission opens in-depth investigation into Ryanair's bid for Aer Lingus
You may also be interested in the following articles...
Aer Lingus part 2: vies with Icelandair, airberlin, Norwegian as leading Nth Atlantic value carrier
Aer Lingus' mission statement includes an aim to be the leading value carrier across the North Atlantic. Although this is not explicitly defined, it can validly claim to be among the top four in this category. Also vying with Aer Lingus for this title are Icelandair, airberlin and Norwegian.
Part 1 of this report on Aer Lingus looked at the development of its capacity and its financial performance, both before and after the acquisition by IAG in Aug-2015. This second part compares its North Atlantic network and its unit cost positioning with those of Icelandair, airberlin and Norwegian.
All four are currently pursuing rapid growth between Europe and North America and have similar weekly seat capacity scheduled in this market for summer 2017. Their trans Atlantic networks differ by their numbers of North American destinations, European hubs serving that region and European destinations connected to those hubs.
Aer Lingus is well placed among the four, but cannot currently claim to be the leading North Atlantic value carrier. Norwegian, with multiple European long haul bases, is developing quite differently from the other three. Moreover, although Aer Lingus is cost efficient, Norwegian has a significant CASK advantage.
Europe summer 2017 airline capacity outlook: fifth successive summer of above trend seat growth
Airline seat growth from Europe in summer 2017 is set to stay at almost 6% for the third successive summer, according to data from OAG. This rate had not previously been reached since 2010, although this will be the fifth straight summer of growth ahead of its 10 year average rate. The summer 2017 season started on 26-Mar-2017 and, although always subject to further change, the data give a fairly clear picture.
Seat capacity on routes from Europe to Africa will grow the fastest, as the region recovers from a terrorism related drop in demand in North Africa. There will also be above trend growth in almost every other region from Europe (including intra Europe). The only exception is Europe-Middle East, where the newly cautious Gulf airlines' growth is slowing this summer.
On the North Atlantic, always important for the profitability of Europe's leading legacy airlines, growth will be faster than its 10 year trend, but it will at least be a little slower than in the past summer. The loss of market share from the immunised North Atlantic JVs to newer and smaller competitors, including LCCs, is set to continue. As ever, the OAG capacity data provide a window into the changing structure of the airline markets from Europe.