The Commission has until June 7 of this year to adopt a final decision on the merger


This Wednesday, the European Commission opened an exhaustive investigation to evaluate the proposed acquisition of Air Europa by the holding company IAG, the Spanish-British parent company of Iberia, as it harbors doubts about the impact of the merger on community competition.

According to Brussels’ preliminary investigation, the operation could reduce competition in the market for passenger air transport services on several national, short-haul and long-haul routes.

The Commission has concluded that the operation could affect Spanish national routes, especially those where the high-speed train does not offer an alternative, as well as routes between the peninsula and the Balearic and Canary Islands.

It also warns of a decrease in competition on routes between Madrid and some of the main cities of the European Economic Area, and on those that connect the Spanish capital with destinations such as Israel, Morocco, the United Kingdom and Switzerland, in which both parties offer a direct connection.

Additionally, some long-haul routes between Madrid and North and South America, where both sides offer a direct connection and face competition from only a few non-stop competitors, could be affected.

During its comprehensive investigation, the Commission will analyze whether the parties’ strong slot portfolio, in particular at Madrid-Barajas airport, could hinder the provision of air services by other airlines, as well as the likely effects of the operation on the indirect connections, such as long-distance routes to South America, where non-stop connections are limited.

It will also assess the likely effects of the operation on routes where other airlines depend on access to the parties’ domestic and short-haul networks for their own operations, which could affect their services to international destinations also operated by IAG. .

The operation was notified to the Commission on December 11, 2023, so the Community Executive currently has 90 working days, until June 7, 2024, to adopt a decision, although in this case it will also have the option to stop the operation. clock with extensions of between 15 or 20 business days.