ECONOMY

Brussels to rule on airlines? merger

Greece?s Competition Commission has accepted a demand by the European Union?s competition authorities to forward to Brussels Aegean Airlines? application to buy out local rival Olympic Air, generating worries for the country?s two major carriers over the fruition of what is effectively a huge merger in the Greek skies for the creation of a national champion.

Although Brussels had put an end to a previous plan that Aegean and Olympic had made to merge, this time the two carriers had been confident that they would only need the approval of the local competition authority, given the shrinking of the Greek market and its penetration by Cyprus Airways.

However, the Competition Commission has decided that the agreement will affect more markets than just Greece?s and sent the application to the European Commission, also for purposes of administrative continuity, taking into account that Brussels had passed a ruling the previous time too.