EC blocks Irish tie-up
Irish budget carrier Ryanair has vowed to appeal against the European Commission's decision to block its proposed takeover of Aer Lingus. The EC in late June ruled against the tie-up on competition grounds, pointing out that "the number of overlapping routes is unprecedented compared with previous airline cases". Ryanair, which has already secured a 25% stake in Aer Lingus, plans to appeal the decision at the European Court of First Instance, and says it is confident it will be overturned.

Iberia partially opens books
Takeover target Iberia has agreed to offer limited access to its books to a consortium led by Texas Pacific Group and British Airways, but will withhold sensitive information until a formal and binding offer is received. TPG has been seeking company information on Iberia with a view to making a public offer to acquire all of the Spanish carrier's shares at a price of €3.60 ($5). Air France-KLM is also mulling a possible bid for Iberia, although it is understood that it does not plan to enter a bidding war. BA says it will not consider raising its current offer.

Lufthansa/Swiss integrated
Lufthansa has completed its acquisition of Swiss International Air Lines and now owns all the equity in the Swiss carrier through the AirTrust company. Swiss will remain an autonomous carrier and will continue developing its Zurich hub. "The assurances given when integration was announced have been more than honoured," says Swiss chief executive Christoph Franz. "After the successful completion of restructuring, our long-haul fleet is growing even more than envisaged."

Europe expands blacklist
The European Commission has revised its airline blacklist to ban all 51 carriers certified in Indonesia from operating flights to Europe, but has eased restrictions on Pakistan International Airlines. The ban on Indonesian airlines will not impact current operations as none of the nation's carriers fly to Europe, although Garuda Indonesia had been hoping to reinstate services to Amsterdam as early as next year. The blacklist has been updated four times since its March 2006 inception.

Source: Airline Business