German-based leisure airline company, Condor Flugdienst, says competitor Eurowings Discover, Deutsche Lufthansa’s leisure unit, seeks to use “code sharing” agreements with its sister companies as a way to end Condor’s transatlantic business.
Code sharing among airlines is a marketing arrangement in which one airline places its designator code on a flight operated by another airline, and sells tickets for that flight.
Airlines throughout the world use this method to strengthen or expand their market presence and competitiveness. U.S. and foreign carriers that want to operate code-shared services must obtain Department of Transportation authorization which approves applications that serve the public interest.
Lufthansa’s Eurowings Discover seeks approval to code-share with Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines and Swiss International Air Lines — all part of Deutsche Lufthansa AG. Condor called the move an “integral component of an anticompetitive scheme by Lufthansa to drive Condor from transatlantic routes.” Eurowings Discover calls Condor’s filings “a transparent attempt to delay approval” of its application.
As reported by CH-Aviation.com, Condor wants DOT to investigate Lufthansa’s conduct and make any code-share agreements dependent on Lufthansa continuing to exchange traffic with Condor in line with their Special Prorate Agreement. That agreement was extended between the two companies after E.U. and German competition agencies criticized Lufthansa’s unilateral termination of the partnership in favor of its own Eurowings Discover. Condor depends on connecting with Lufthansa’s transatlantic flights out of Frankfurt for the services it sells.
Edited by Tom Hagy for MoginRubin LLP.