On 12 July 2018, the European Commission approved, under the EU merger regulation, the acquisition of the sole control of the whole of LaudaMotion by the low cost airline Ryanair. The proposed concentration was notified to the Commission on 7 June 2018.
LaudaMotion is an Austrian Air Operator Certificate holder owned by the private foundation of Niki Lauda, which has acquired assets of the former airline NIKI.
The Commission has examined the effects of the proposed transaction on the market for air transport of passengers on the routes from German, Austrian and Swiss airports to leisure destinations in the Mediterranean and Canary Islands, where the activities of Ryanair and LaudaMotion overlap. Moreover, the Commission has analysed if LaudaMotion‘s portfolio of airport slots to be acquired by Ryanair at different airports would allow the Irish airline to prevent competitors from entering or expanding their presence at these airports. According to the Commission, control over a large slot portfolio at congested airports can result in higher barriers to entry for airlines wanting to operate to and from these airports, with the risk of higher fares for passengers.
Following its investigation, the Commission has found that the increase in the slot portfolio of Ryanair is unlikely to have a negative effect on passengers. Moreover, Ryanair will continue to face strong competition from other carriers on the routes to and from airports where the activities of both airlines overlap. Therefore, the Commission has concluded that the proposed transaction would raise no competition concerns in any of the relevant markets.