Germany Orders Lufthansa To Maintain Condor Flight Co-Operation

  • Tom Boon-169

    Lufthansa

    IATA/ICAO Code:
    LH/DLH

    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier

    Hub(s):
    Frankfurt Airport, Munich Airport

    Year Founded:
    1953

    Alliance:
    Star Alliance

    Airline Group:
    Lufthansa Group

    CEO:
    Carsten Spohr

    Country:
    Germany

The German flag carrier has stated it would end its collaboration with leisure carrier Condor, which saw the latter’s passengers using Lufthansa feeder flights for their onward journey. However, the German cartel office is having none of it, saying Lufthansa must continue the cooperation not to hinder Condor from competing on long-haul routes.

As reported by Reuters on Thursday, September 1, the cartel office hindered Lufthansa from ending the agreement until further notice, following complaints from Condor that the flag carrier was abusing its market dominance. Lufthansa had already suspended the co-operation several times, but it was currently extended until October 31.

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The President of the Bundeskartellamt (Federal Cartel Office), Andreas Mundt, said in a statement,

“On this basis Condor passengers from all over Europe can continue to use through tickets for feeder flights operated by Lufthansa and its airlines for Condor long-haul flights. Following an intervention by the Bundeskartellamt, Lufthansa had temporarily suspended its original termination of this business relationship. several times for limited periods, most recently until 31 October 2022. We have reached the conclusion that Condor is entitled under competition law to be given access to the feeder flights operated by Lufthansa also after this point in time.”

Lufthansa must continue to provide access to its feeder flights to Condor. Photo: Oliver Roesler via Lufthansa

Has to fulfill “special obligations”

The office stated that there was “no doubt” that Lufthansa was the only airline in the country able to offer a comprehensive network of feeder flights from Europe to the major German hubs Frankfurt, Munich, and Düsseldorf. Because of this dominant position, Lufthansa is subject to abuse control under competition law and “thus has to fulfill special obligations towards other market participants.”

If Condor lost customers who wish to use a feeder flight, the Bundeskartellamt says, this would have severe economic consequences both for the company and for the overall competition, with as many as 30% of long-haul travelers using feeder flights depending on the season .

Condor is getting an even better deal following the ruling. Photo: Joe Kunzler | Simple Flying

Access to more options than before

To add insult to injury for Lufthansa, the office also decided to award Condor more rights than according to the existing collaboration. Condor will now have access to more booking classes than before for the feeder flights, and be able to book seats whenever they still have Considerable free capacities.

Mundt further added,

“Lufthansa’s new focus on the long-haul tourist flight business will not be affected by the decision. Lufthansa is still free to optimize booking and price control for its own passengers in its own way. entitlement to access.”

The decision is not yet final. Lufthansa now has one month to appeal to the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court. A spokesperson for the airline shared the following statement,

“Lufthansa has agreed to extend the special service agreement (SPA) with Condor on feeder flights until the end of October 2022, without being legally obliged to do so. This provides Condor with booking security until the end of the summer tourist season. Lufthansa is Currently reviewing the extensive documents of the draft decision of the German Federal Cartel Office and will provide a comprehensive statement on the matter.”

What do you think, should Condor be allowed to use Lufthansa feeder flights for its long-haul passengers? Leave a comment below and join the conversation.

Source: Reuters, Bundeskartellamt

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