Extracts from the press conference by Joaquín Almunia on Commission’s decision to prohibit Ryanair's proposed takeover of Aer Lingus
Type: Summary of press conference
End production: 27/02/2013 First transmission: 27/02/2013
On 27 February 2013, Joaquín Almunia, Vice-President of the EC in charge of Competition, gave a press conference on Commission’s decision to prohibit Ryanair's proposed takeover of Aer Lingus.
The European Commission has prohibited, on the basis of the EU Merger Regulation, the proposed takeover of the Irish flag carrier Aer Lingus by the low-cost airline Ryanair. The acquisition would have combined the two leading airlines operating from Ireland. The Commission concluded that the merger would have harmed consumers by creating a monopoly or a dominant position on 46 routes where, currently, Aer Lingus and Ryanair compete vigorously against each other. This would have reduced choice and, most likely, would have led to price increases for consumers travelling on these routes. During the investigation, Ryanair offered remedies. The Commission assessed them thoroughly and carried out several market tests. However the remedies proposed fell short of addressing the competition concerns raised by the Commission.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Arrival of Joaquín Almunia, Vice-President of the EC in charge of Competition (2 shots)
||Soundbite by Joaquín Almunia (in ENGLISH): Today the Commission has decided to block the acquisition of Aer Lingus by Ryanair, this transaction would have combined the two leading airline operation form Ireland and currently these two airlines are competing head to head. As it happened in the past, I reached the conclusion that this acquisition could not be allowed from the competition point of view. Indeed it would have directly harmed passengers, who would have had to pay higher fares as a result.
||Cutaway of a photographer
||Soundbite by Joaquín Almunia (in ENGLISH): Ryanair made some proposals during the investigation to try to remedy our concerns. We studied them with great care and we carried out as many as three market tests, gathering views from competitors, travel agencies, customers, customers associations, public authorities and airport operators. In the end, the outcome of our analysis was very clear: these remedies were not sufficient given the seriousness of the competition problems at the stake.
||Cutaway of the audience
||Soundbite by Joaquín Almunia (in ENGLISH): Consolidation is welcome so long as it does not occur at the expense of competition, or – and this amounts to the same – at the expense of consumers.
||Cutaway of a screen
||Soundbite by Joaquín Almunia (in ENGLISH): Our decision today preserves the healthy competition between airlines that passengers need on the many routes on which both airlines compete. For the citizens who will travel on these flights in the coming years, it has a direct positive impact: they will continue enjoying from the benefits of competition between Ryanair and AerLingus and accordingly, they will continue benefitting from better choice of services and also lower fares.