The European Commission has opened an anti-trust investigation into British Airways’ parent IAG’s proposed takeover of Air Europa.
Under the EU Merger Regulation the Commission will study whether the acquisition will limit market competition on Spanish domestic routes and on international flights to and from Spain.
“We will carefully assess whether the proposed transaction would negatively affect competition on domestic, short-haul and long-haul routes to and from Spain, possibly leading to higher prices and reduced quality for travellers,” said Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, who is responsible for the EU’s competition policy.
IAG-owned Iberia and Vueling are major competitors in the Spain market.
IAG and Air Europa are the first and third-largest commercial air operators in the Spain market.
The Commission found IAG and Air Europa compete head-to-head on several long haul routes from Madrid as well as domestic services.
On some routes, IAG and Air Europa have been the only airlines operating, which could effectivelt become a monopoly.
Air Europa, currently owned by Spanish tourism group Globalia, served more than 60 destinations, in Europe and South America before Covid.