Menzies Aviation deal ‘raises competition concerns’

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said on Tuesday that Menzies Aviation’s purchase of de-icing and ground handling specialist Airline Services will face an in-depth (phase 2) probe unless it offers “acceptable ways of addressing competition concerns.”

The CMA said the companies both supply UK airlines and airports with support services “including the de-icing of aircraft engines and wings; ground handling (including baggage, ramp, passenger and airside cargo handling); and the cleaning and maintenance of aircraft interiors.”

The CMA added: “Following its initial (phase 1) investigation, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has identified competition concerns regarding de-icing services at Edinburgh, Glasgow and London Heathrow airports, and ground handling services at London Gatwick and Manchester airports.

“The merger of Menzies and Airline Services, which are close competitors at these airports, could lead to less choice for the airlines operating there, potentially leading to higher prices and lower quality service.

“Menzies has until 14 August to offer acceptable solutions to address the CMA’s concerns; otherwise the merger will be referred for an in-depth phase 2 investigation.”