UK competition regulators have opened a two-month initial inquiry into British Airways parent IAG’s proposed acquisition of Spanish carrier Air Europa.

The Competition and Markets Authority is inviting comments on whether the acquisition is likely to result in a “substantial lessening” of competition within any of the UK markets.

It says it notified the various parties of the inquiry on 19 November and has set a deadline of 19 January next year to reach an initial decision.

Interested parties are being invited to comment on the transaction by 29 November.

The European Commission has already started its own in-depth investigation to assess the IAG acquisition of Air Europa.

Air Europa 737-c-Air Europa

Source: Air Europa

Air Europa is a member of the SkyTeam airline alliance

It has expressed concern over the potential competition impact on Spanish routes – both international and domestic – particularly European feeders and long-haul services from Madrid to the USA and Latin America.

Competition across as many as 70 city-pairs could be affected by the tie-up, the Commission believes. It gives a provision deadline of 4 January 2022 for its assessment.

IAG is already the parent company of Spanish flag-carrier Iberia as well as Spanish budget airline Vueling. While IAG is associated with the Oneworld alliance, Air Europa is a member of the rival SkyTeam group.