British Airways’ merger with Spain’s Iberia has been given an unconditional green light by the EU’s competition regulator.
The European Commission said the tie-up – creating Europe’s third biggest airline – would not significantly impede competition in the region.
It also gave clearance for BA, Iberia and another member of the Oneworld alliance, American Airlines, to deepen their pact.
They wanted to do that to take advantage of the “Open Skies” agreement between Europe and the US liberalising trans-Atlantic flights.
Competition Commissioner Joaquín Almunia said: “This positive decision is good news for the airlines, and more importantly, this is good news for the passengers who will benefit from a broader choice of flights and will continue to enjoy the benefits of competition.”
The three airlines have agreed to give up seven landing and take-off slots for routes between London and four US cities.
Rival carrier Virgin Atlantic called the EU decision “shameful” saying it creates a “monster monopoly.”