On 12 December 2017, the European Commission approved the acquisition of parts of Air Berlin by EasyJet. The Commission received the notification of the proposed concentration in November 2017.
The concentration is accomplished by way of purchase of assets; the concerned business activities consist in assets that previously formed part of Air Berlin’s operations at Berlin Tegel Airport, including slots and overnight parking stands at Berlin Tegel airport and at some destination airports. Following several years of financial difficulties, Air Berlin filed for insolvency in August 2017, resulting in the sale of its assets.
The Commission’s investigation focused on whether the slot portfolio to be acquired by EasyJet in Berlin Tegel, and at destination airports, would allow EasyJet to shut out competitors from the market for passenger air travel to and from Berlin, with the risk of higher fares for passengers. The Commission found that the increase in the slot portfolio of EasyJet was unlikely to have a negative effect on passengers, and, moreover, EasyJet will continue to face strong competition from large carriers like Lufthansa and Ryanair on routes from and to Berlin.
Therefore, the Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns in any of the relevant markets.