May 29, 2018 / 9:49 AM / a month ago

No antitrust probe for Lufthansa over fares after Air Berlin collapse

BERLIN (Reuters) - Lufthansa (LHAG.DE) will not be investigated for market abuse over rising ticket prices following the collapse of local rival Air Berlin (AB1.DE), the German cartel office said on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO: Flags with the German airline Lufthansa sign flutter next to the office building in Frankfurt, Germany March 15, 2018. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski/File Photo

The watchdog had received complaints over high ticket prices and had been looking into the matter with a view to decide whether to instigate a full investigation.

Air Berlin collapsed in October last year, leaving Lufthansa with a monopoly on some German domestic routes for a few months.

The cartel office said that Lufthansa tickets were on average 25-30 percent more expensive after the insolvency but fell again after easyJet (EZJ.L) entered the market following the acquisition of parts of Air Berlin.

“The price increase is significant, but does not justify the instigation of market abuse proceedings,” cartel office president Andreas Mundt said in a statement.

A Lufthansa spokesman said the company acknowledged the decision, declining to comment further.

Reporting by Victoria Bryan; Editing by Christoph Steitz

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