Picture of Managing Director and Founder Niki Lauda giving a press conference today in Vienna. Picture from Laudamotion.

LONDON – The European Commission has approved the sale of LaudaMotion to Ryanair on an unconditional basis. The Commission concluded in their investigations that the transactions would raise no competition concerns in the European Economic Area.

LaudaMotion is the carrier which Mr. Niki Lauda re-acquired back from NIKI back in January 2018, the leisure air carrier he founded in 2003 before integrating it into Air Berlin. The assets of NIKI were for sale because Lufthansa decided not to acquire NIKI, which resulted in insolvency proceedings.

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The investigation by the commission was over the proposed transaction on the market for air transport of passengers on the routes from German, Austrian and Swiss airports to such leisure destinations in the Canary Islands and Meditteranean, where the activities of both carriers overlap.

The commission also wanted to investigate whether the slots that would be acquired by Ryanair through the sale of LaudaMotion would prevent competitors from entering or either expanding their presence out of the affected airports as control over a large slot portfolio at congested airports can result in higher barriers to entry for airlines, which could result in higher fares.

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The results of the investigation stated that the increase in the slot portfolio of Ryanair is unlikely to have a negative effect on passengers through no airfares rising and that Ryanair will continue to face strong competition from other carriers on the routes where they overlap, meaning that the proposed transaction would raise no competition concerns.

This is good news for Ryanair as they can now begin their expansion through a different carrier, or even so, maybe using Ryanair aircraft. It will be interesting to see what route developments we will see on the Laudamotion network and whether there can be any links of connectivity across the Ryanair network with the LaudaMotion name.