Day: 28 January 2005

European business briefs: Aviation merger, Fisheries measures, Tsunami logging threat, Irish drainage system

The European Commission has granted approval under the EU Merger Regulation to Airbus Group (France) and SITA (Netherlands) to form a joint venture, named OnAir, which will develop and provide the nascent onboard communication services for commercial aircraft (such as in-flight telephony, SMS, e-mail, Internet and GSM onboard). The Commission concluded that the joint venture will not significantly impede effective competition in those markets. OnAir will be jointly controlled by SITA and Airbus and will be a fully-fledged company, active in the provision on in-flight in-seat telephony, SMS messaging, e-mail and instant messaging, access to virtual private networks ("VPN") and the Internet and provision of GSM telephony solutions onboard long and short-haul commercial aircraft. The Commission verified that the transaction would not cause adverse effects either in the possible relevant markets for In-seat telephony, In-flight SMS, In-flight e-mail and instant messaging, where SITA (one of the parent companies) was already active pre-merger, or in the possible emerging markets for GSM onboard and In-flight VPN and Internet access. In particular, the Commission considered that other players are already or may be active in these markets besides OnAir and, especially as regards the emerging markets, there is no risk of foreclosure for third party service or equipment providers.

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