Ryanair Loses Appeal on Aer Lingus Takeover

     (CN) – A European court backed the European Commission’s opposition to discount airline Ryanair’s takeover of an Irish airline, but allowed Ryanair to remain a minority shareholder in the company.

     Ryanair acquired a 29 percent share of Aer Lingus after the Irish government privatized the fleet in 2006.
     Ryanair, a discount airliner also based in Ireland, sought to take over Aer Lingus, which also recently incorporated a low-fare strategy to its business model.
     The General Court of the European Union supported the European Commission’s opposition to the takeover, agreeing that it would hinder competition by giving Ryanair a dominant position on routes to and from the Irish transport hubs of Dublin, Cork and Shannon.
     But because Ryanair holds only a minority shareholder position in Aer Lingus, the commission was justified in not ordering Ryanair to divest from its competitor, the court ruled.

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