EC probe to study merger of airlines

The European Commission will decide at the start of December whether it will clear a proposed merger between Greek carriers Aegean Airlines and rival Olympic, following an in-depth probe. An initial investigation into the merger showed it could raise ‘serious competition concerns,’ the EU’s executive arm said in a statement at the end of last week. The merger would create a dominant carrier in Greece’s domestic market, with a fleet of 64 aircraft and a work force of 5,850 employees. ‘The Commission must make sure that consumers and businesses will continue to have a competitive choice of airline services in Greece, both as regards fares and routes, in particular at a time of difficult economic circumstances,’ Commission Vice President Joaquin Almunia said. The final decision on the proposed merger is expected from Brussels by December 7.