Volume 34 (2009) / Issue 1
A ‘commitment decision’ is a decision through which Competition Authorities make commitments offered by companies binding on them in exchange for the termination of investigations into anti–competitive practices. The purpose of this article is to show how this new and extremely interesting kind of formal settlement can be applied in air transport cases. It analyzes the origin and the procedure of commitment decisions and focuses on the types of possible commitments in the fi eld of air transport. Airlines may offer slots to their competitors, share their Frequent Flyer Programs (FFP), enter into interline agreements with other airlines, and facilitate intermodal services, thus avoiding an infringement decision. An independent trustee with the necessary competence can monitor the accomplishment of these commitments. This article clears up some legal uncertainties and suggests ways in which interested parties, such as cooperating airlines and worldwide alliances, can make better use of the new mechanism and propose acceptable commitments to Competition Authorities. It also discusses both relevant case law of European Competition Authorities and air law doctrine and concludes that commitment decisions could lead to healthier and undistorted competition in the airline industry.
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