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Competition: Widerøe may have breached EEA competition rules



EN  | NO

The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) is concerned that Widerøe's Flyveselskap AS may have abused a dominant position in Norway in breach of the EEA competition rules.

Widerøe“Dominant market players have a special responsibility to ensure that their business practices do not impede competition”, says Frank J. Büchel, ESA's College Member responsible for competition cases.

Today, ESA sent a Statement of Objections to Widerøe setting out its preliminary conclusion in an in-depth investigation of how the airline acted in relation to public service obligation routes in Norway – the PSO routes.

Previously, airlines needed a specific satellite-based approach system to compete in public tender processes to service several Norwegian PSO routes. The system is called SCAT-1 and was installed at many regional airports in Norway for safety reasons. At the airports where this system was installed, PSO aircraft were required to have certain SCAT-1 receivers on board. Widerøe owns all of the available on-board receivers.

ESA's preliminary view is that Widerøe infringed the EEA rules by refusing to supply a necessary component of the SCAT-1 system – the on-board receivers – to possible competitors. Consequently, Widerøe appears to have been the only airline able to win a number of the PSO tenders during the period under investigation.

«If, in reality, only one company is able to win a public tender, the Government may end up paying more than necessary. The cost is then pushed on to the taxpayer”, says Büchel.

ESA carried out unannounced inspections at Widerøe's premises in June 2014. A significant amount of data was collected and, in June 2016, ESA opened formal antitrust proceedings to investigate the airline's operations.

Today's Statement of Objections does not prejudge the outcome of the proceedings. ESA will take a final decision only after Widerøe has had the opportunity to comment. The airline is invited to comment by 3 July and may also ask to be heard in an oral hearing. If ESA's preliminary conclusions are confirmed, it may impose a fine.

For further information, see the accompanying fact sheet  or please contact:

Ms. Anne Vestbakke
Head of Communications
tel. +32 2 286 18 66
mob. +32 490 57 63 53

Other EEA Institutions

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