Norwegian Competition Authority approves Norwegian’s acquisition of Norway's oldest aviation group

Airplane front landing gear

On December 21, 2023, the Norwegian Competition Authority (NCA) approved Norwegian’s acquisition of Widerøe, Norway’s oldest aviation group with more than 3,500 employees and a fleet with almost 50 aircrafts. Widerøe’s extensive route network in regional Norway will allow Norwegian to create a more comprehensive offer for its customers.

The NCA notified the Parties in a Statement of Objections (SO) on November 17, 2023 that there could be grounds for prohibiting the acquisition of Widerøe. It identified several overlapping routes, on which the NCA raised unilateral effects concerns, and the NCA also argued that it may become easier for Norwegian and SAS to coordinate prices on domestic flights. A key part of the NCA’s evidence base was an econometric analysis that closely followed the Commission’s analysis in the Ryanair/Aer Lingus merger decision that CRA developed on behalf of Aer Lingus in 2007. Norwegian’s response to the SO included CRA’s econometric analysis that showed that the NCA’s unilateral effects concerns were unfounded as well as a coordinated effects assessment that rebutted the NCA’s arguments from an economic perspective.

A CRA team including Dan Donath, Uğur Akgün, and Michael Muehlbradt provided economic support to Norwegian alongside Norwegian’s legal counsel BAHR.

See the NCA’s press release for more details.