Cartel Office Investigates Abuse of Market Power by Lufthansa

The Federal Cartel Office is investigating whether Lufthansa is abusing its market power in the battle for long-haul tourist passengers. The authority responded to a complaint from the vacation airline Condor and opened a formal investigation last week, as a spokesman reported on Thursday upon request. A particular urgency is seen in the event that Condor has to fear serious economic disadvantages and Lufthansa actually misuses its market position.

The companies involved as well as the tour operators had already been given the opportunity to comment. Such a procedure would represent an additional burden in the Corona crisis, explained the President of the Cartel Office, Andreas Mundt. “But we, as the competition authority, see our duty to carefully examine whether the conditions of competition in the already highly concentrated air traffic markets will deteriorate further through behavior contrary to antitrust law.”

In essence, it is about the fact that Lufthansa terminated the long-term flat-rate contract for feeder flights to Condor long-distance travel last November. This makes connecting connections with a change of airline more difficult to book. Lufthansa used to be liable for delays at the feeder. The Condor stated that the corresponding Lufthansa flights are currently blocked as transfer connections for their agents.

The Lufthansa Group has declared that it wants to get more involved in the business of long-haul tourist flights and has therefore founded the new flight operator “Eurowings Discover”, on which tourist flights are to be bundled.

Condor used to be a Lufthansa subsidiary itself and has stood on its own two feet with the help of a large government loan since the Thomas Cook Group went down. Lufthansa was also saved by the state in the Corona crisis. She declined to comment on the procedure on Thursday. Condor boss Ralf Teckentrup explained. “Tax money should be used to ensure the survival of companies during the Corona crisis, but not to force other companies out of the market.”

 

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