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Competition watchdog clears airline support services takeover

Menzies Aviation’s takeover of part of rival Airline Services’ business has been cleared after an in-depth investigation allayed competition concerns.

Both firms supply airlines in the UK with support services including the de-icing of aircraft and ground handling.

An initial probe by the Competition and Markets Authority raised concerns that the merger could result in less choice and higher prices or a reduction in quality for the services to airlines at a number of key airports in England and Scotland.

The concerns led to the merger being referred to a group of independent CMA panel members for an in-depth second stage investigation.

Issuing its final decision today, the CMA said: “Having thoroughly scrutinised the wider evidence base considered in the Phase 2 inquiry, it has found that the market for ground handling services has a strong recent history of companies entering and competing for contracts.

“The CMA also found that Menzies and Airline Services are not close competitors in the market for de-icing services, meaning the takeover would not lead to a substantial lessening of competition.

“The CMA has therefore decided to clear the merger.”

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