The European Commission (EC) has approved the partnership between Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines if they reduce some fares and open airport slots to new entrants. The EC acted to stop a German and Austrian "quasi-monopoly", says competition commissioner Mario Monti.

The Star Alliance partners have agreed to make available to new market entrants up to 40% of the slots for bilateral routes such as Vienna to Berlin, Frankfurt and Stuttgart.

Meanwhile, the EC has raised concerns about proposed cooperation between Air France and Alitalia, saying it will reduce competition between France and Italy.

The two airlines have been asked "to reflect on how to address these problems" so the alliance can be approved "while protecting consumers and respecting European law". Alitalia is being integrated into the Air France/Delta Air Lines-led SkyTeam alliance.

Source: Flight International