Etihad, Alitalia to give concessions to get EU approval of deal

30 Oct 2014

(MENAFN) Etihad Airways said it is willing to offer concessions along with Alitalia, the Italian carrier, in an attempt to win the approval of European Union antitrust for the plan of the Abu Dhabi airline to acquire 49 percent stake of Alitalia, Gulf News reported.

The European Commission, which said that it would decide by Nov. 17 whether to clear the deal, did not provide details of the concessions, though it is predicted that the airlines have offered to give up some airport slots on the Rome-Belgrade route to facilitate rivals.

The carriers are likely to secure EU approval with minor concessions, which would be similar with other past deals, when the EU authority demanded airlines give up airport slots, facilitate rivals’ access to connecting traffic or open up their frequent flyer programs to ease competition concerns.

State-owned Etihad, which has minority stakes in Air Berlin, Air Seychelles, Virgin Australia, Aer Lingus, Air Serbia and Jet Airways, is also currently in the process of buying stakes in Swiss-based Etihad Regional as well as Alitalia.

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