Menzies Aviation deal gets provisional OK

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said on Friday it has provisionally cleared Edinburgh-based Menzies Aviation’s takeover of part of Airline Services’ business after an in-depth investigation allayed competition concerns.

The deal was announced in April.

“An initial Phase 1 probe raised concerns that the merger could restrict choice for airlines at a number of key airports in England and Scotland for both de-icing and ground handling, potentially leading to higher prices or a worse service,” said the CMA.

“These concerns led to the merger being referred to a group of independent CMA Panel members for an in-depth Phase 2 investigation.

“The CMA has today issued its provisional findings.

“Based on a thorough evaluation of the wider evidence base in the Phase 2 inquiry, it has found that the market for ground handling services is particularly dynamic, with a strong recent history of companies entering the market to compete for contracts.

“With regard to de-icing services, the CMA has found that competition between Menzies and Airline Services is very limited such that the merger would not lead to a substantial lessening of competition.

“The CMA is currently inviting comments on its findings until 9 January 2019.

“It will then consider any submissions it receives before reaching a final decision, the deadline for which is 28 January 2019.”