European Commission clears IAG takeover of Irish airline Aer Lingus

LONDON – The European Commission says it has cleared the takeover of Irish airline Aer Lingus by International Airlines Group.

The commission said Tuesday it had concerns about fair competition, but that the deal was cleared after IAG agreed to release five daily slot pairs at London’s Gatwick airport.

It said that and other commitments from IAG will allow rival airlines to operate routes from London to Ireland.

IAG, which also owns British Airways and Spain’s Iberia, unveiled its 1.3 billion-euro ($1.45 billion) takeover bid for Aer Lingus in January.

On Friday, Ireland’s budget airline Ryanair agreed to sell its nearly 30-per cent stake in Aer Lingus, formally ending Ryanair’s own nine-year effort to seize its Dublin-based competitor.