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EU clears KLM's planned purchase of Martinair

Air France unit KLM won permission from EU competition regulators on Wednesday to buy airline Martinair Holland.

“I was very conscious of the need to safeguard the interests of consumers flying to long-haul holiday destinations,” EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said in a statement.

“After a thorough investigation, I am now satisfied that consumers will continue to have a competitive choice of airline services after the acquisition of Martinair by KLM.”

The European Commission had opened an in-depth investigation in September because of concerns regarding the deal's potential impact on transport in particular between Amsterdam and Curacao and Aruba in the Dutch Antilles.

However, it said the investigation, which included a consumer survey at Amsterdam airport, showed that the transaction would have only a limited market impact.

KLM owns 50% of Martinair - an operator of charter flights and freight services - and is seeking to buy the other 50% from sea and land transport company Maersk. (Reuters)