Competition in the Norwegian market for air travel may be impaired if Norwegian is permitted to acquire Widerøe. Norwegian Competition Authority therefore needs to conduct further analyses of the acquisition.
In early July 2023, Norwegian announced an intent to acquire Widerøe. The Norwegian Competition Authority has collected and analyzed detailed information from the parties and other actors in the same market. The Authority’s first deadline for presenting a preliminary assessment of the acquisition is today, September 15th.
The Authority’s preliminary assessment is that competition in the market for air travel may be impaired. If competition is impaired in a way that leads to increased prices and a reduced offer for Norwegian air passengers, the Competition Authority can prohibit the acquisition.
– The market for air travel is a large and significant market for Norwegian consumers. Well-functioning competition is crucial to ensure that Norwegian air travelers have access to the best possible offers at the lowest possible price. Further analyses of how Norwegian’s acquisition of Widerøe will affect the competition in this market are needed, says Director Gjermund Nese.
Due to the deadlines outlined in the Competition Act, the Competition Authority must publish a new assessment by November 17th. At that point, the authority must either permit the acquisition or notify the parties that there could be grounds for prohibiting it.
– Our preliminary assessment is that there may be reason to fear that the acquisition will impact norwegian air passengers negatively. Going forward, the Competition Authority will more thoroughly consider the case to find out if the acquisition should be prohibited, says Project Manager Katrine Amdam.