Air Transport World

AF/KLM merger approved with slot givebacks.(Brief Article)

Marking a historic first step in the consolidation of the European airline industry, the European Commission gave approval Feb. 11 to the planned acquisition by Air France Group of KLM. "The European Commission has authorized the concentration between AF and KLM after the companies successfully resolved concerns about reduced competition," an EU executive said. The biggest concern related to routes between Paris and Amsterdam and Europe and the US. The Commission identified 14 routes where the deal would eliminate or significantly reduce competition. To balance this, AF and KLM agreed to surrender 47 daily slot pairs.

The EC noted that for the first time, the slot surrender is for "an unlimited duration," compared with six years for alliances, and the slots must be returned to the slot coordinator, not to the airline partners, if they are misused or underused by a new entrant. …

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