Cartel body warns KLM, Schiphol about anti-competitive practices

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Dutch flag carrier KLM and the Schiphol airport group have agreed to stop communicating about other airlines’ plans for expansion at the main Amsterdam airport on the orders of cartel watchdog ACM.

The pledge ‘will ensure a level playing field for competitors at Schiphol,’ the watchdog said.  ‘KLM and Schiphol acknowledge that interactions have taken place that carried anti-competitive risks.’

The ACM said the commitment to work independently will deal with these potential risks and that it has not established any rule breaking to date.

However, the inquiry did establish that KLM ‘called Schiphol to account for facilities provided to other airlines, such as a hub for easyJet and a business lounge for Emirates’.

In addition, KLM and Schiphol discussed Schiphol taking KLM’s position into account in its investments, airport charges, and marketing strategy, the ACM said.

KLM and its partners account for some 70% of flights too and from Schiphol.

‘Capacity at Schiphol is becoming increasingly scarce, so competitors should have a level playing field,’ said ACM chairman Chris Fonteijn. ‘We have to prevent KLM from getting improper preferential treatment over other airlines.

‘These commitments therefore help create a strong airport with excellent facilities for all airlines. And that, in turn, will help ensure a varied selection and lower ticket prices,’ he said.