easyJet Gets EU Approval For Air Berlin Asset Purchase
UK airline easyJet has received unconditional approval from the European Commission for its acquisition of parts of failed German carrier Air Berlin.
The Commission said in a statement that the transaction would not adversely affect competition in the EU single market.
The EUR€40 million (USD$47 million) deal will significantly increase easyJet’s presence in Germany, with the takeover of part of Air Berlin’s operations at the capital’s Tegel Airport.
The deal includes leasing former Air Berlin aircraft and acquiring Tegel Airport landing slots. easyJet will also employ about 1,000 ex-Air Berlin crew members to operate the 25 Airbus A320s it will fly from Tegel.
The Commission ruled that the Air Berlin slots easyJet will acquire at congested German airports, and particularly Berlin, are “unlikely to have a negative effect on passengers.” easyJet will continue to face strong competition from large carriers such as Lufthansa and Ryanair on routes to and from Berlin it said.
Air Berlin filed for insolvency in August, with a deadline for bids for the sale of its assets by mid September. In addition to the easyJet bid, Lufthansa agreed to buy a large part of Air Berlin's assets, including its NIKI and LG Walter units. The Commission is investigating Lufthansa’s offer under EU merger rules, with the first phase to be completed by December 21.