TAP and Brussels Airlines are being given time to “respond” to allegations by the European Commission that they connived in a scheme which essentially eliminated competition on prices on the Brussels-Lisbon route, leading to “higher prices and less choice for consumers”. The EU’s concern is that a “combination of practices” adopted by both airlines “may have been in breach of anti-trust rules”. The inquiry refers to the years 2009-2012.
During this period, the EC claims the two carriers “attempted to restrict competition on the route by firstly, discussing a capacity reduction and an alignment of their pricing policy on the route, and secondly, granting each other unlimited rights to sell seats on each other’s flights on the route (where they had previously competed). Thirdly, they implemented these arrangements by actually reducing capacity, completely aligning their fare structures as well as their ticket prices on the route”.
Aviation portal ch-aviation adds: “The Commission takes the preliminary view that this combination of practices breaches EU rules that prohibit anti-competitive agreements (Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU).
“The Commission’s preliminary conclusion is that these practices eliminated competition on prices and capacity between the two airlines on the Brussels-Lisbon route and led to higher prices and less choice for consumers.”