THE EUROPEAN Commission (EC), has written to Lufthansa and Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS), expressing "serious doubts" about the two airlines' planned strategic alliance.

Although the EC says that it is "unlikely" to reject the proposed alliance completely, it may impose conditions. The details of the EC's concerns are confidential, it says.

A formal decision on any conditions to be imposed on the alliance could take until the end of the year - the airlines had been planning to bring their deal into effect from 1 January. Nevertheless, Lufthansa insists that the partners remain confident that they will be able to keep to the original schedule.

The German airline says that it is not surprised that the Commission is considering imposing conditions on the deal. The EC is to publish its proposals in its official journal later this month to allow comments from other interested parties.

The teaming agreement between the two airlines, signed on 11 May, is to combine the two route networks, giving SAS the benefit of Lufthansa's strong presence outside Europe, and allowing Lufthansa to take advantage of the SAS Scandinavian, European and intercontinental network.

Source: Flight International