ECONOMY

Brussels ruling on Ryanair may affect Olympic-Aegean plans

EU antitrust regulators have blocked a third attempt by Ryanair to buy Irish rival Aer Lingus, a ruling Europe’s biggest low-cost airline called politically motivated and vowed to challenge in court.

Some antitrust lawyers said the Commission’s decision could have implications for another airline merger in the pipeline.

“The Greek carriers Olympic and Aegean will be following this closely for pointers as to how their planned tie-up will be analyzed,” said Paul McGeown, a partner at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati in Brussels.

Aegean Airlines unveiled its 72-million-euro bid for Olympic Air in October last year, two years after the Commission rejected its first offer.

Aegean said its latest proposal aims to ensure its survival in a shrinking market.

The companies are now in informal discussions with the EU competition authority and are expected to formally file for approval of the deal in the coming days.

[Reuters]