Published February 27, 2013
BRUSSELS – The European Union's antitrust authority says it is blocking budget airline Ryanair's renewed bid to take over Irish carrier Aer Lingus.
The EU Commission said Wednesday the merger would harm consumers by creating a dominant company on 46 routes where the carriers are currently competing.
Ryanair said it will appeal the ruling, decrying it as a "political decision" bowing to the interests of the Irish government.
Ireland, which holds a 25 percent stake in Aer Lingus, opposes the takeover bid.
Ryanair, Aer Lingus' biggest shareholder with a 30 percent stake, first tried to take over the Irish carrier in 2006 but was blocked by the EU Commission.
Ryanair has since made another bid. It argues the European airline industry is changing rapidly, with regional carriers failing and larger ones merging.