Short Reads

KLM and Amsterdam Schiphol airport offer commitments to reduce competition concerns

KLM and Amsterdam Schiphol airport offer commitments to reduce compet

KLM and Amsterdam Schiphol airport offer commitments to reduce competition concerns

01.11.2017 NL law

On 12 October 2017, the Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) published a draft decision accepting the commitments of Dutch airline KLM (KLM) and Amsterdam Schiphol airport (Schiphol). The commitments are aimed at eliminating the competition concerns identified by the ACM on the basis of a four-year investigation into interactions between KLM and Schiphol about growth opportunities of other airlines at Schiphol and airport capacity.

In 2013, the ACM started an investigation to assess whether KLM and Schiphol protected KLM's position at the airport in relation to other airlines. The ACM found that KLM and Schiphol had interactions regarding the allocation of airport capacity and facilities between KLM and its competitors. The ACM concluded in its draft decision that "such interactions created the risk that Schiphol would not set its strategy independently, but change it to accommodate KLM’s wishes. In this way, the growth opportunities of other airlines may have been frustrated". As a result, competition could be hindered and the position of the other airlines operating at Schiphol might be weakened. To address the ACM concerns, KLM and Schiphol offered the following commitments:

  • KLM and Schiphol will not have any contact with each other about: (i) the growth potential of other airlines at Schiphol and (ii) requests from competitors for airport facilities.
  • Schiphol will independently determine its tariff changes, marketing policies and investments. Any contact between KLM and Schiphol on these topics has to reported in writing.
  • Schiphol will create objective criteria to deal with requests from airlines for airport facilities.
  • KLM and Schiphol will (i) report to the ACM on the implementation of these commitments over a period of four months and (ii) allow the ACM to have access to the relevant documentation (e.g. reports on contacts and decisions on facility requests).

The ACM maintains that these commitments are sufficiently effective to address the competition risks identified and that they will help create a level playing field for airlines at Schiphol. The commitments will be binding for five years, although the ACM has the power to extend the duration if necessary. Interested parties have six weeks to respond to the commitments. The draft decision emphasizes that the ACM has not established an infringement and that by offering these commitments KLM and Schiphol do not acknowledge any violation of competition law.

This article was published in the Competition Law Newsletter of November 2017. Other articles in this newsletter:

  1. General Court annuls UPC/Ziggo merger decision
  2. General Court rules that luxury watchmakers can limit supply of parts to approved repairers
  3. General Court upholds fine for 'gun jumping' EU merger control procedure
  4. European Commission orders the recovery of State aid of around EUR 250 million from Amazon
  5. Nike can restrict sales via online platforms within its selective distribution system
  6. Dutch Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal rules on cover pricing

Team

Related news

03.09.2020 NL law
The ACM’s Green Deal: achieving sustainability via competition law?

Short Reads - The ACM has issued draft guidelines on the application of competition law to sustainability agreements. Companies entering into agreements that restrict competition but contribute to governmental sustainability objectives – i.e. lower CO2 emissions – may expect more room for collaboration. The proposed framework would allow these types of agreements if their anti-competitive effects are outweighed by their environmental benefits to society as a whole (rather than to in-market consumers only, as under the existing framework).

Read more

24.09.2020 BE law
Stibbe hosts a webinar on dawn raids organised by IBJ/IJE

Seminar - On 24 September 2020, several Stibbe lawyers ​​​​​explain the rights and obligations of companies when confronted with announced or unannounced raids. What do to when, for example, tax authorities, the competition authorities, police services or a bailiff are at your doorstep?

Read more

03.09.2020 NL law
Home, but not alone: Commission may complete dawn raids from home

Short Reads - The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has rejected Nexans’ appeal in the power cables cartel case. The Commission started the dawn raid at Nexans’ premises, but due to lack of time finished the raid at the Commission’s premises in Brussels. The ECJ found that the Commission can copy data and assess its relevance to the investigation at its own premises, while safeguarding companies’ rights of defence.

Read more

03.09.2020 NL law
COVID-19 impacts level and payment of antitrust fines

Short Reads - As well as granting companies leeway on certain COVID-19 initiated collaborations (see our May 2020 newsletter), the coronavirus outbreak has also led competition authorities to take a more lenient stance towards fine calculations and payments. The European Commission has extended the due date for fine payments by an additional three months in response to potential short-term liquidity issues brought about by the pandemic. Similar reasons led the Dutch Trade and Industry Appeal Tribunal to reduce a EUR 1 million cartel fine to just EUR 10,000.

Read more