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Mergers and Acquisitions in the Aviation Sector

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he aviation industry is one of the most dynamic and rapidly changing industries in the world, with mergers and acquisitions (M&A) playing a significant role in shaping its future. In recent years, the aviation industry has seen a significant rise in the number of M&A transactions, as companies seek to expand their operations and increase their market share.  

In the aviation sector, mergers and acquisitions are driven by a range of factors, including the need to increase market share, gain access to new technology and resources, strengthen competitive positions, reduce costs, and boost profitability. In addition, consolidation within the industry is seen to improve operational efficiencies and reduce costs. Another factor driving M&A activity in the aviation sector is the need to improve customer service, gain access to new markets and reduce risk.  

The increasing number of M&A transactions in the aviation sector has resulted in various benefits, such as increased efficiency and cost savings, improved customer service and access to new markets, and strengthened competitive positions. However, there are also potential risks associated with M&A in the aviation sector, including increased regulatory scrutiny, increased competition, and increased costs. It is essential that companies get the right advice and build a strategy surrounding any acquisition. 

Recent European Mergers and Acquisitions in the Aviation Sector

The European aviation sector has seen a rapid increase in mergers and acquisitions (M&A), with the trend likely to continue as larger airlines consolidate and seek to increase their competitive edge. 

One of the most prominent mergers in the European aviation sector was between Aer Lingus and British Airways. In 2015, the two airlines combined to form the International Airlines Group (IAG). The merger created a major player in the European aviation market, allowing the newly formed company to benefit from economies of scale and increased efficiency. 

In the same year, Air France and KLM combined to form Air France-KLM. The merger was seen as a way to increase the two airlines’ competitive edge in the global aviation market. As part of the merger, Air France and KLM agreed to pool their resources and share the costs associated with operating their respective fleets. This allowed the newly formed company to reduce its operating costs and increase its efficiency. 

In 2018, Lufthansa Group acquired a majority stake in Brussels Airlines. This acquisition gave the German airline increased access to the Belgian market, allowing it to strengthen its presence in the region. Furthermore, the acquisition enabled Lufthansa Group to increase its presence in the European market and expand its reach beyond Germany.  

More recently, Ryanair acquired LaudaMotion. The acquisition allowed Ryanair to benefit from LaudaMotion’s existing fleet of aircraft, which it can use to expand its operations in the region. Establishing the strategic aims of an acquisition is essential, Ryanair looked at the market options and increasing their fleet size. 

The European aviation sector is undergoing a period of rapid consolidation following the pandemic. This trend is likely to continue as airlines seek to increase their competitive edge and reduce their operating costs. This could have far-reaching implications for the industry, and it is likely that we will see more mergers and acquisitions in the near future. 

What are the key considerations when acquiring another business?

  1. Negotiate and Execute the Acquisition Agreement: This is the agreement that will formalise the purchase of the other company. It should include the details of the purchase, such as the purchase price, terms of payment, and any other conditions of the deal.  
  2. Due Diligence: This process involves reviewing the target company’s financial documents, contracts, and other legal documents to ensure that the company is in good standing and that there are no hidden liabilities or other issues that could be problematic.  
  3. Obtain Regulatory Approval: Depending on the jurisdiction, certain types of acquisitions may require the approval of a government regulator such as the CAA.  
  4. Obtain Third-Party Approvals: Depending on the nature of the acquisition, third-party approvals may be necessary, such as from lenders, suppliers, or customers.  
  5. Transfer Assets: This process involves transferring ownership of any assets from the target company to the acquiring company. 
  6. Finalize Contracts: Any agreements with customers, suppliers, and other third parties need to be finalized in order for the acquisition to be successful. 
  7. Integrate Companies: This involves combining the two companies and ensuring that their systems, processes, and other operations are fully integrated. 

Our aviation legal services

Oracle’s Aviation department combines a wide range of abilities. Our solicitors are experienced European aviation lawyers and support legal teams across the industry. Contact our team at [email protected]. 

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