German officials probe Lufthansa pricing scheme
Germany's anti-cartel office is checking whether flag carrier Lufthansa spied on rivals' business practices by eliciting information from corporate clients, a spokeswoman told AFP on Thursday.
Lufthansa is suspected of offering discounts to major companies in exchange for information on prices being offered by other airlines.
With such data, the German carrier "might be able to learn how competitors are shaping their prices," the spokeswoman said.
If so, that could violate a principle of competition secrecy.
"If there is too much transparency, competition no longer functions," she explained.
The office is thus now asking Lufthansa's corporate clients to cooperate with its enquiry.
A spokesman for the carrier responded by saying: "We do not see how we might have acted in violation of competition rules."
In late 1999, the office had already questioned Lufthansa about certain corporate contracts, the spokesman noted.
© 2011 AFP