The Italian Antitrust has found no evidence of an agreement between airlines to fix the prices of flights to Sicily and to make consumers pay more close to Christmas and summer. In the hours in which he started – not by chance, according to insiders – thefact-finding investigation into how carriers set rates, the Competition and Market Authority (Agcm) must record the absence of a cartel between airlines and close the investigation started on 20 December last year. what he learns Corriere della Sera from two sources who follow the dossier.
The decision will be finalized next month – the sources continue – but in recent days the carriers that have come under investigation (Ryanair, Wizz Air, easyJet and Ita Airways) have received communications of the preliminary findings: the Italian Antitrust – the summary – intends to abandon the charges of coordination on prices having not ascertained any infringement in the setting of fares for flights to the island.
It all started after the complaint from Codacons Sicilia on alleged distortions of competition resulting from the increase in air ticket prices on the routes between Rome, Milan, Bologna and Turin and Sicily during the Christmas holidays. Increases, according to the consumer association, attributable to a specific collusive intention of the airlines active on these routes. In those days the governor of Sicily Renato Schifani spoke several times about a cartel between ITA and Ryanair given the 500 euro tickets between Rome and Palermo, for example. He charges rejected by all carriers.
The Agcm has in turn did an initial check, establishing that in the run-up to the Christmas holidays there is a general and significant increase in the prices of airline tickets and that there is a substantial alignment in the prices charged by various companies. This is why the suspected state of collusive behavior between air carriers, possibly facilitated by the use of pricing algorithms, rather than rational adaptation to market conditions. An assessment that had surprised the experts due to what they judged to be a lack of knowledge of the systems revenue management of vectors.
The new front
Now, eleven months after starting the investigation, the authority does not believe it has proof of collusion. The airlines have achieved a first victory on the issue, but must prepare to provide explanations on the fact-finding investigation announced on 16 November. The Agcm wants to investigate the possible negative effects on the functioning of the market and on the conditions of offer to consumers linked to the use of price algorithms and will investigate the methods of communicating to the public the costs of airline tickets and their various components. An equally hot 2024 is predicted for relations between carriers and institutions.
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