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Europe to harden concession rules for airline mergers

19.10.2023 – 09:56 UTC

As the European Commission confronts a wave of consolidation in the airline industry following a lull during the pandemic, regulators are planning to demand tougher concessions from carriers seeking to merge so that fair competition is ensured, interim EU antitrust chief Didier Reynders has told the Financial Times.

There is evidence that existing concessions forced on airlines conducting mergers, such as giving airport take-off and landing slots to rivals, have not always proceeded as planned, with some slots remaining unused or not used on the routes intended.

In future, Brussels will ask airlines to ensure that the slots are allocated correctly and, in some cases, it could tell them to divest non-core assets.

Belgian national Reynders, who was previously the European commissioner for justice, was appointed caretaker competition commissioner last month while Margrethe Vestager runs for president of the European Investment Bank.

He told the newspaper: “We see some remedies are not efficient. In the past, the main request was to ask [airlines to offer] slots to other companies.” But if this is “not enough”, regulators…

Mali okays, then cancels Air France restart

13.10.2023 – 11:22 UTC

Air France (AF, Paris CDG) announced the restart of flights to Bamako on October 13, 2023, after more than two months, only to have the authorisation withdrawn shortly after. A military official told the AFP news agency the initial permit was issued “without consulting the superiors”.

The French carrier suspended its services to Bamako in Mali, Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso, and Niamey in Niger after the coup d’êtat in Niger in early August 2023. Relations between all three countries – all former colonies of France – and Paris have soured after military juntas took power in each of them between 2020 and 2023. While flights to Niger remain…

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