July 16, 2012 / 1:16 PM / in 7 years

EU competition regulators approve EADS/Israeli Taxibot plan

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European competition regulators said on Monday they had cleared EADS’s EAD.PA Airbus and Israeli Aerospace Industries to set up a joint venture to produce a tugging tractor or “Taxibot” for large commercial aircraft.

The European Commission, which acts as competition regulator in the 27-member European Union, said the deal to jointly build “Taxibot” did not raise any competition concerns.

“Taxibot” is intended to connect to large commercial aircraft, allowing a pilot to use the plane’s controls to taxi to and from the runway, relying on Taxibot’s engine and fuel.

The Commission said it looked into the possibility of competition concerns arising because of the “strong position of Airbus in the closely related market for the supply of aircraft”.

But is said the joint venture would not shut out rivals in the supply of aircraft or in finding new ways for taxiing planes to and from runways.

Rex Merrifield, Brussels newsroom

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