Cartel officials search offices of vacation airlines

14th June 2005, Comments 0 comments

14 June 2005, BONN - Officers from Germany's competition authority on Tuesday searched the offices of four vacation airlines as part of an inquiry into a shakeup of commissions paid to travel agents.

14 June 2005

BONN - Officers from Germany's competition authority on Tuesday searched the offices of four vacation airlines as part of an inquiry into a shakeup of commissions paid to travel agents.

The airlines, which offer full-service flights to tourist destinations, have been trying to copy German flag carrier Lufthansa and no-frills airlines by reducing or abolishing commissions. Travel agents would have to charge fees from customers instead.

The Federal Cartel Office in Bonn said it sought evidence at four airlines, but it did not name them. Spokeswoman Anja Scheidgen said there was a suspicion they had agreed in advance to cancel the commissions agreements.

Air Berlin and Hapagfly, the charter arm of TUI, said they had visits from the officers. Both denied illegal fixing. The newspaper Financial Times, in a story to appear on Wednesday, said the other two airlines had been Condor and LTU.

A Hapagfly spokeswoman said, "We've nothing to fear." Air Berlin said, "There's hardly another sector with such tough competition as ours." A spokesman said Air Berlin had given notice of the termination on 1 November of its commissions agreement.

DPA

Subject: German news

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