In the frame of Ryanair’s attempt to acquire the Irish flag carrier Aer Lingus, the European Commission decided on 20 December 2006 to initiate an in-depth investigation into the compatibility of such acquisition with the common market (OJ C 10, 16.01.2007, p. 4).

Ryanair had initially notified the Commission on 30 October 2006 of the proposed concentration of the two entities (OJ C 274, 10.11.2006, p. 45). This notification caused an initial market investigation to be undertaken by the Commission.

This investigation indicated competition concerns in case the acquisition would go ahead. On many routes out of Ireland the carriers are the sole competitors and they equally are the main operators out of Dublin Airport. Following the Commission’s announcement of 20 December 2006, Ryanair withdrew its bid on Aer Lingus.

The Commission has until 11 May 2007 to make its final assessment of the impact on competition the acquisition would have.