Irish budget carrier Ryanair has confirmed it will appeal the European Commission’s (EC) decision, 27 June, to block its proposed takeover of fellow Irish carrier Aer Lingus.

Ryanair had already reiterated its intention to challenge any prohibition ruling from the EC during a pre-emptive press conference held in Brussels yesterday at which it attacked the EC’s decision, formally announced today.

The airline has today confirmed it will appeal the decision at the European Court of First Instance and underlined its confidence that the prohibition decision will be overturned.

Ryanair has argued blocking the tie-up would be politically motivated and inconsistent with previous EC decisions on airline mergers. It says the decision should be overturned because it marks the first time the EC has prohibited a merger between two companies holding less than 5% of the EU market, that it goes against larger airline mergers previously approved, and marks the first time an EU airline merger offered guaranteed fare reductions of over €100 million per year.

This last point was included in a number of remedies offered by Ryanair to head off competition concerns.

For its part the EC argues the Ryanair-Aer Lingus tie-up differs from previous airline mergers because it marks the first time it has assessed a merger of the two largest airlines from a single country, both with significant operations at the same base airport.

It also describes the number of overlapping routes as unprecedented, stating that there are 35 routes where the two carriers would hold a monopolistic or dominant position as a result of a tie-up.

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