Ryanair has been given regulatory approval for its proposed acquisition of a 75% interest in Austrian airline Laudamotion.
The Irish budget carrier already owns 24.9% of the Austrian carrier and has entered into partnership with founder, the former Forumla One racing car champion Niki Lauda.
However, Ryanair said the airline is under threat from Lufthansa which is attempting to remove the nine aircraft the German airline was obliged by the European Commission to provide to Laudamotion for it to restart services.
Ryanair said this was the latest in a series of efforts by Lufthansa to destabilise and damage Laudamotion.
It claimed Lufthansa fail to deliver two of the 11 aircraft they were required to under the EU competition decision linked to Lufthansa’s acquisition of Air Berlin.
And it said some of the aircraft that Lufthansa had committed to deliver have been delayed until after the summer 2018 season, meaning Laudamotion cannot take up slots.
Laudamotion has only able to operate a 19 aircraft fleet in summer 2018 by wet leasing 10 Boeing 737 aircraft from Ryanair.
Ryanair further alleged that Lufthansa delayed a payment of over €1.5 million of wet lease payments due to Laudamotion for flights which the airline operated for Lufthansa in March, April and May.
Ryanair said it remains “committed to bringing competition and choice to Austrian, German and Spanish markets through this investment in Laudamotion and called on the competition authorities to halt Lufthansa’s repeated abuses of its dominant position, which are designed to harm competition and consumers”.
Chief Legal and Regulatory Officer, Juliusz Komorek said: “We welcome the EU Commission’s decision to approve Ryanair’s proposed acquisition of a 75% interest in Laudamotion.
“Ryanair remains committed to bringing competition, choice and low fares to the Austrian, German and Spanish markets through our investment in Laudamotion.
“We urge the EU competition authorities to take action and prevent any further attempts by Lufthansa to damage competition through its anti-consumer behaviour.”
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