EU regulators halt Air Canada, Transat anti-trust probe, await data

FILE PHOTO: Two Air Canada Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircrafts are seen on the ground as Air Canada Embraer aircraft flies in the background at Toronto Pearson International Airport in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, March 13, 2019. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - EU antitrust regulators have suspended their investigation into Air Canada's AC.TO bid for Canadian tour operator and carrier Transat AT Inc TRZ.TO while waiting for the companies to provide data sought by the enforcers.

The European Commission, which opened a four-month investigation last month on concerns that the deal may result in higher prices and less choice for flights between Europe and Canada, halted its probe Thursday.

“This procedure in merger investigations is activated if the parties fail to provide, in a timely fashion, an important piece of information that the Commission has requested from them,” the EU executive said.

“Once the missing information is supplied by the parties, the clock is re-started and the deadline for the Commission’s decision is then adjusted accordingly,” it said.

It had previously set a Sept. 30 deadline for its decision. Transat has said it expects to close the deal in the fourth quarter of the year.

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee, editing by Louise Heavens