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13 Jul 2018

BY James Chapple

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Ryanair accuses Lufthansa of sabotaging Laudamotion takeover

Ryanair’s bid to acquire a 75% stake in Austrian airline Laudamotion has been approved by the EU Commission.

Ryanair aircraft on rainy day
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Ryanair accuses Lufthansa of sabotaging Laudamotion takeover

The decision will allow the Irish budget carrier to significantly extend its existing 24.9% stake in Laudamotion.


Laudamotion was born when F1 legend Niki Lauda acquired and rebranded Amira Air in early 2016.


Earlier this year, Laudamotion took over insolvent airline Niki, acquiring its aircraft with a view to launching commercial operations in summer 2018.

 

MORE: Ryanair enters partnership to develop new Austrian airline using Niki assets


Juliusz Komorek, Ryanair’s chief legal and regulatory officer, 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.”


Ryanair though says Laudamotion’s launch has been threatened by Lufthansa, which is allegedly trying to retain aircraft it was obliged by the European Commission to provide Laudamotion on competition grounds.


It accuses Lufthansa of failing to deliver two of the 11 aircraft required by the commission following Lufthansa’s acquisition of Air Berlin and delaying others until after the summer 2018 season, reducing Laudamotion’s ability to take up slots and forcing Ryanair to wet lease its new acquisition 10 aircraft.


Komorek added: “We urge the EU competition authorities to take action and prevent any further attempts by Lufthansa to damage competition through its anti-consumer behaviour.”


Ryanair, in a statement, has called on the EU’s competition authorities to halt Lufthansa’s “repeated abuses of its dominant position, designed to harm competition and consumers”.


TTG has contacted Lufthansa for comment.

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