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Exclusive-EU warning to IAG over Air Europa deal imminent, sources say

A Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner of the Air Europa company takes off from Gran Canaria airport

By Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS (Reuters) -British Airways owner IAG is set to get an EU antitrust warning about its bid to secure full control of Air Europa after its remedies failed to address EU antitrust concerns, people with direct knowledge of the matter said.

EU antitrust regulators have not sought feedback from rivals and customers on remedies submitted by IAG in late February, indicating that these are insufficient to address their concerns, the people said.

The European Commission, which acts as the EU's competition enforcer, is due to issue a statement of objections to IAG around the end of April, setting out specific concerns that could lead to a veto of the deal if not addressed, the sources said.

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The EU executive - which is scheduled to decide on the deal by July 15 - and IAG declined to comment.

Neither IAG nor the Commission has provided details of the remedies. However, other sources said they include ceding airport slots and routes, as well as offering access to planes to enable rivals to start operating these almost immediately.

IAG wants to buy the 80% of Air Europa it does not already own from Spain's Globalia. The two carriers abandoned a previous deal in 2021 after EU regulators indicated their remedies were insufficient to alleviate competition concerns.

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by David Goodman and Jan Harvey)