EU Resumes Probe Into Air Canada-Transat Deal

European regulatory authorities have resumed their investigation into Air Canada’s proposed purchase of Transat, giving themselves a few more months to hand down a decision.

The European Commission, which was awaiting additional data from the two Canadian travel companies, announced it will reach a conclusion by December 12.

The Commission’s antitrust body launched the investigation into the US$720-million deal in May to determine whether it would hurt competition in Canadian and European markets.

A preliminary review by the EU executive branch found that the would-be transaction could significantly reduce competition on 33 routes between the two jurisdictions.

The finding aligned with concerns highlighted by Canada’s Competition Bureau, which warned in March, based on information collected prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, that eliminating the rivalry between the two Montreal-based carriers would prompt pricier fares and fewer services.

The bureau said the takeover would give Air Canada control of more than 60%t of transatlantic air travel from Canada and 45 per cent of passenger capacity to sun destinations.