EU: Lufthansa, United Airlines, Air Canada Offer Antitrust Remedies

BRUSSELS–Deutsche Lufthansa AG (LHA.XE), United Airlines and Air Canada (AC.A.T), all airlines members of the Star Alliance group, offered concessions to solve European Union competition concerns over their cooperation on transatlantic flights, the EU antitrust regulators said Friday.

“The parties have offered to make landing and take-off slots available at Frankfurt and/or New York to facilitate the entry of competitors on this route,” the European Commission, which has antitrust powers in the EU, said in a statement. The airlines are also offering to let competitors sell tickets on their flights and ease connections with other airlines, it said.

The concessions offered seek to address concerns raised by the commission that the cooperation may drive up prices for premium passengers on the Frankfurt-New York route.

The commission will now seek comments on these concessions from other market participants. If the market test confirms that the offer is effective in addressing the antitrust concerns, the commitments will become legally binding on the companies, meaning that they can be fined if they don’t stand by it.
Wall Street Journal, December 21, 2012