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European Commission approves IAG takeover of Aer Lingus

The European Commission has approved the £1.3 billion takeover of Aer Lingus by IAG.

As part of the deal, IAG, which owns British Airways and Iberia, will have to release five daily slots at Gatwick to allay fears of unfair competition.

Two of the slots must be operated between Dublin and Gatwick, and one between Belfast and Gatwick. The two remaining slots can be used to serve either Dublin or Belfast.

IAG is also in discussion with other airlines that operate long-haul flights out of the UK, the Netherlands and Ireland committing Aer Lingus to providing them with connecting passengers.

"These commitments adequately address all competition concerns identified by the Commission," the Commission said in a statement.

The approval comes after Ryanair agreed to accept IAG’s offer for its 29.8 per cent stake in Aer Lingus.

Ireland’s minister for transport Paschal Donohoe welcomed the commission’s approval. He suggested that once it was confirmed it would have no effect on the connectivity commitments, the State would formally accept IAG’s offer.

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