Australia's ACCC to announce Virgin-Tiger decision on 24 April

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The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) says it will announce on 24 April whether Virgin Australia's proposal to buy a controlling stake in rival Tiger Airways Australia will be approved.

This comes after the competition watchdog delayed its announcement on the decision twice, after seeking more information from both carriers.

Under the proposal that was announced in October last year, Virgin plans to take a 60% stake in Tiger Australia, with the low-cost airline to then be operated as an independently-managed joint venture.

The proposal has already received approval from Tiger's shareholders, but is still conditional on the ACCC's approval.

In a statement of issues released for public comment in February, the ACCC expressed concerns that the transaction would remove an independent third competitor from the Australian aviation market. It adds, however, that the joint venture would allow Virgin to better compete with Jetstar in the budget end of the market.

Tiger says that it is not seeking other investors for the loss-making Australian operation, and could shut it down if the joint venture proposal does not proceed.

Flightglobal Pro data shows that Tiger Australia operates a fleet of 11 Airbus A320s.