Sunday, September 27

Airlines raided in S. African price-fixing probe

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JOHANNESBURG: South Africa’s Competition Commission on Tuesday said it raided the offices of national airline SAA and its low cost carrier in a probe into possible World Cup price-fixing.“The searches form part of the Commission’s investigation into collusion in the airlines industry around the soccer World Cup period,” the antitrust body said in a statement.

“We were prompted by the Commission’s suspicion SAA (South African Airways) and Mango might have withheld information having a bearing on the investigation.

“During the search, the commission seized documents and electronic data, which will now be analysed together with other information gathered to determine whether a contravention of the Competition Act has taken place.”

In March, SAA and its partners SA Airlink and SA Express denied that they had colluded with other airlines to hike prices during the football World Cup.

High airfares during the World Cup period have sparked public uproar for several months.

South African Airways in December filed a leniency application, offering to cooperate with the investigation in exchange for being spared prosecution.

Apart from SAA and its partners, other airlines being investigated include British Airways and its local partner Comair and discount carrier 1Time.

The raid last Wednesday also targeted offices of the Airlines Association of South Africa. — AFP