EU to check if they comply with rules for operating airlines
The European Commission is looking at a number of foreign shareholdings in European airlines, to check if they comply with rules for operating airlines within Europe.
The investigation includes Etihad’s 29% stake in Air Berlin and Delta Air Lines’ 49% stake in Virgin. Etihad is also considering buying a stake in Alitalia. It also includes a Korean Air stake in Czech Airlines and a shareholding by the Chinese investment firm HNCA in the cargo carrier Cargolux.
To obtain an operating licence in the EU as a European airline, a carrier must be more than 50% owned and “effectively controlled” by an EU member state or EU citizens, a spokesman for EU transport commissioner Siim Kallas points out in a statement.
“Accordingly, the Commission has asked the member state concerned to provide further information on how these investments comply with the rules on ownership and control of European airlines.”