The EU General Court's Judgments in the Air Berlin Cases - A Case Note and Comment
CONCURRENCES COMPETITION LAW REVIEW Nr. 1-2022, 123-126 (2022) (https://www.concurrences.com)
7 Pages Posted: 6 Apr 2022
Date Written: January 21, 2022
This note summarizes and comments on two judgments that are important for EU merger control in the aviation sector. In 2017, Lufthansa and easyJet acquired parts of Air Berlin, after the German airline became insolvent. The European Commission approved these acquisitions but LOT, a Polish airline, disagreed and appealed. The EU General Court subsequently affirmed the Commission decisions.
The most immediate contribution of these judgments lies in their answer to a rather technical question: if an airline goes bankrupt and its slots are acquired by other airlines, how should the Commission assess the impact of this transfer? But more broadly, the General Court's confirmation of the Commission’s slot portfolio analysis may herald a greater focus on slots in EU competition law enforcement. In the United States, the Department of Justice has long been attentive to concentrations of slots at airports such as Newark and Reagan National.
Keywords: competition law, antitrust, merger control
JEL Classification: antitrust
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation