EU approves American Airlines, US Airways merger

BRUSSELS (AFP) - European Union competition authorities gave their approval on Monday, following US bankruptcy backing in February, for the merger of American Airlines and US Airways, which will create the world's largest airline.

"The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed merger between US Airways Group and AMR Corporation, including its main subsidiary American Airlines, Inc, all of the United States," said a statement.

The decision is conditional on the merged company making way for increased competition on the London-Philadelphia route, where a joint venture with British Airways and Iberia creates a de facto monopoly.

Having received such commitments, "the Commission concluded that the transaction would not raise competition concerns". The Commission found no other significant concerns affecting European routes.

"The Commission could clear this transaction in the first phase given the commitments offered by the parties which address the competition concern we identified on the London-Philadelphia route," said EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia.

"The commitments include a corresponding slot at London Heathrow as well as far-reaching feeder arrangements to induce entry by a new competitor on the route.

"We are therefore satisfied that the competitive dynamics will be maintained so as to ensure choice and quality of air services for passengers on this route."

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