EU blocks Ryanair bid to buy Ireland’s Aer Lingus

BRUSSELS — The European Union’s antitrust authority on Wednesday blocked Ryan­air’s renewed bid to take over rival Irish carrier Aer Lingus, ruling that it would undermine competition and drive up ticket prices.

The merger of the two Dublin-based airlines would have harmed consumers by creating a monopoly or a dominant position on almost 50 routes where Aer Lingus and Ryanair currently compete, said the EU Commission, the bloc’s executive arm.

‘‘This would have reduced choice and, most likely, would have led to price increases for consumers traveling on these routes,’’ it said, rejecting the remedies offered by Ryanair in return for a green light to its takeover bid.


Ryanair, Europe’s biggest budget airline and already the biggest shareholder in Aer Lingus, vowed to appeal what it called a ‘‘political decision’’ designed to meet the interests of the Irish government. Its offer valued Aer Lingus at about $900 million.