The European Union approved plans by American
Airlines and US Airways to merge into the world's largest carrier
after extracting concessions on the London-Philadelphia route, the
bloc's executive said Monday.
"We are ... satisfied that the competitive dynamics will be maintained so as to ensure choice and quality of air services for passengers on this route," EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said.
US Airways said that it expects to close the 11-billion-dollar merger in the third quarter.
The new airline, which would operate under the American Airlines brand, would use 1,500 aircraft with 600 more on order and have an annual turnover of almost 39 billion dollars. It would offer more than 6,700 daily flights to 336 destinations in 56 countries.
Without any changes, the merger would have led to a monopoly on the London-Philadelphia route, according to an investigation carried out by the EU's executive, the European Commission.
The commission thus required the two airlines to release a flight slot at London Heathrow and to undertake "far-reaching feeder arrangements to induce entry by a new competitor on the route," Almunia said.
"On all other trans-Atlantic routes affected by the merger, the combined entity will continue to face competition from other strong competitors," the commission said.
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