EU probes airlines with large foreign stakeholders (

April 8, 2014

The European Commission has launched an inquiry into stakes held by foreign  investors in four European airlines, warning that EU rules prohibit foreign  companies from exercising “effective control” of airlines registered in the  28-member bloc.

The EU probe targets four airlines with sizeable foreign  stakeholders, including German low-cost carrier Air Berlin, and comes days after reports that Gulf  carrier Etihad is seeking to boost  its stake in Air Berlin to 49.9 per cent – the maximum permitted under EU  law.

Etihad is also expected to make an offer to buy almost half of Italian airline Alitalia, underscoring the carrier’s mounting presence in the European travel market.

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