The UK’s OFT unconditionally clears a merger in the airline sector concluding that evidence of new market entry can mitigate high market shares (easyJet / GB Airways)

[1] On 18 January 2008, the UK's Office of Fair Trading (“OFT”) announced that it had cleared unconditionally the purchase of GB Airways Limited (“GB Airways”) by easyJet Airline Company Limited (“easyJet”). The OFT focused on relatively narrowly defined markets, considering scheduled flights on specific city-pair routes as separate markets. Ultimately, the OFT found that the impact of combined market shares between 40 and 80 per cent on some routes and some evidence of barriers to new entry were outweighed by evidence of a lively history of significant actual market entry on most of the routes concerned. On this basis, the OFT was able to conclude that the merger would not give rise to a substantial lessening of competition and cleared the transaction unconditionally. Market

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Kyriakos Fountoukakos, The UK’s OFT unconditionally clears a merger in the airline sector concluding that evidence of new market entry can mitigate high market shares (easyJet / GB Airways), 18 January 2008, e-Competitions January 2008, Art. N° 15896

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