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Airline takeover

June 22, 2009

The European Commission has cleared the purchase by German flag carrier Lufthansa of SN Brussels Airlines, European regulators said Monday.

Lufthansa und Brussels Airlines jets
Lufthansa's bid had been put on ice in JanuaryImage: picture-alliance/dpa (M)

The deal was approved after Lufthansa came up with "an efficient and timely slot mechanism" which would allow more competition on routes between Belgium and Germany, and Belgium and Switzerland.

The commission ruled that "the proposed transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area or any substantial part of it.

"The comprehensive remedies package offered by Lufthansa will facilitate market entry on the affected routes and thereby create alternative choices for passengers," said EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes.

The takeover was paused and scheduled for further scrutiny earlier this year over fears the deal could see the creation of a monopoly on several key European routes - from Brussels to Frankfurt, Munich, Hamburg and Zurich respectively.

Lufthansa is to pay 65 million euros to buy 45 percent of the Belgian carrier, and has an option to buy the rest of the business in 2011.

Another potential Lufthansa takeover - of Austrian Airlines - is still under investigation by the commission, which has until July 1 to either approve the deal or initiate a more comprehensive study of the plan.

Editor: Trinity Hartman