Ryanair / Aer Lingus III – A Reflection on Remedies

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Ryanair / Aer Lingus III - A Reflection on Remedies

The article aims to provide details on the content of the final remedies package offered by Ryanair to the European Commission (the 'Commission') in its third attempt to acquire control of Aer Lingus. The commitments offered by Ryanair to remedy the competition concerns of the Commission were not deemed sufficient by the Commission to render the concentration compatible with the internal market, and the concentration was prohibited by the Commission on 27 February 2013.

The commitments offered by Ryanair were a mix of common, 'tried and trusted', airline merger remedies that had been accepted by the Commission in previous merger investigations, and a number of entirely novel remedies involving 'upfront buyer' airlines to provide competition on routes affected by the proposed merger.

The article examines the commitments offered by Ryanair, and draws comparisons between the treatment by the Commission of the Ryanair/Aer Lingus case and its treatment of other notified airline mergers, in terms of commitments accepted in those other cases. The article sets out the Commission's reasons for rejecting Ryanair's commitments, and offers reasons why the Commission did not deem its previous precedents to be directly relevant for the Ryanair/Aer Lingus case.