Since July 2010, there have been a number of important decisions in the aviation sector. In particular, the judgment of the General Court of the European Union (hereinafter 'General Court') in relation to the Ryanair/Aer Lingus prohibition decision affirmed the practices of the European Commission (hereinafter 'Commission') with regard to market definition, competition assessment, the assessment of efficiencies, and remedies and is instructive as to the approach that will be taken by the Commission in future airline merger cases. Since that judgment was handed down, the Commission has also issued its second prohibition decision in an airline merger case under the Merger Regulation in the Olympic Air/Aegean Airlines case. The Commission investigation into price-fixing in Airfreight services has also finally been concluded and the industry has been shocked by the level of fines imposed.
This article, first summarizes the judgments of the European Courts and the decisions and ongoing investigations of the Commission in the period under review. It then considers some of the significant themes arising from the cases as well as the guidance provided by the Commission and US Department of Transportation (hereinafter 'DOT') joint report on competitive issues and regulatory approaches to transatlantic airline alliances.Air and Space Law