US FEDERAL TRADE Commission (FTC) approval of Boeing's $14 billion acquisition of McDonnell Douglas (MDC) leaves European Commission (EC) endorsement as the only major remaining barrier to the giant aerospace-industry merger.

By a 4-1 vote on 1 July, the FTC blessed Boeing's acquisition of MDC, saying that it would not "-substantially lessen competition or tend to create a monopoly".

Shareholder votes on the merger are planned for 25 July. The companies aim to complete the merger on 1 August, allowing for operation of the new entity three days later. The deal and Boeing's "sole-supplier" agreements with three major US airlines, has drawn fire from the EC, which is worried about the future of Airbus Industrie. The FTC says that it found sole-supplier deals "potentially troubling". The EC is expected to complete its anti-trust review of the merger by 31 July. The EC does not have the power to block the merger, but it could move to limit Boeing sales in Europe.

Boeing has filed "proposed remedies" to EC concerns over the merger, and it may offer to alter the sole-supplier provisions to win EC anti-trust approval.

Source: Flight International