The European Commission has decided to close its antitrust investigation into a codeshare agreement between Brussels Airlines and TAP Air Portugal relating to the Brussels-Lisbon route, which the Commission was carrying out on its own initiative.
On 27 October 2016, the Commission adopted a Statement of Objections (see below) against the two airlines, raising preliminary concerns that their codeshare cooperation on passenger services between Brussels and Lisbon may have restricted competition between them.
The closure decision is based on a thorough analysis of all relevant evidence, including information received from the two airlines in their replies to the Statement of Objections and during an oral hearing, which took place in May 2017.
The Commission concluded that the evidence collected was not sufficient to confirm its initial concerns and has therefore decided to close its investigation. Throughout the investigation, the Commission emphasised that its concerns related to certain specific features of this particular codeshare, rather than to codeshares in general. However, today’s closure decision does not mean that close forms of cooperation between competing airlines will not raise competition concerns.
Finally, it should be noted that since 2014 new airlines have begun to compete with the code-sharing airlines on the Brussels-Lisbon route, to the benefit of consumers.
The Commission will continue to monitor the European air travel market.