AMSTERDAM, Feb 5 (Reuters) - TNT Express will sell its airline operations to ASL Aviation Group to comply with European Union rules if the Dutch logistics company's sale to larger rival FedEx goes ahead, the company said on Friday.
The company said it needed to sell TNT Airways and Pan Air Lineas Aereas to comply with EU airline ownership and control roles after FedEx's 4.4 billion euro ($4.90 billion) acquisition of the company.
Under EU rules, foreign investors cannot own more than 49 percent of a European airline and control of the company must remain in EU hands.
Ireland-based ASL, a global cargo, passenger and leasing company, will continue to operate flights for TNT following its acquisition by FedEx under a multi-year service agreement. Its fleet will grow from 90 to 130 aircraft after the sale.
With a European market share of 17 percent, the combined FedEx-TNT will be Europe's second-biggest delivery services business, behind Deutsche Post's DHL but ahead of UPS . The deal also strengthens FedEx's position as the world's No.3 player.
FedEx and TNT Express said last month they had obtained unconditional approval from the European Commission for their proposed merger.
$1 = 0.8981 euros Reporting by Thomas Escritt; editing by Adrian Croft