OFT calls on Competition Commission to investigate Ryanair stake
20th June 2012
The long-running battle over Ryanair’s stake in rival airline Aer Lingus has seen a further development, with the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) deciding to refer the case to the Competition Commission.
As previously reported, Ryanair recently failed in their attempt to launch a Supreme Court appeal against a Competition Tribunal Appeal’s ruling that they should not be allowed to increase their level of investment in the Irish firm so that they could become majority shareholders. That triggered the start of an OFT investigation, though officials from the watchdog have now said the matter is potentially so serious that it should be considered at a higher level.
This latest decision was made due to concerns that – as the shareholder situation stands - Aer Lingus’s commercial policy could be changed in such a way that the interests of its customers are negatively affected.
It now appears that Ryanair’s actions could lead to the group facing a significant fine or further punishment, despite the company previously employing the use of solicitors with senior competition lawyer jobs.