Air France has confirmed that it is being investigated by the European Commission as part of its investigation into alleged price-fixing practices on passenger flights between Europe and Japan. Lufthansa, KLM and possibly Alitalia are also under investigation by EC authorities.
"Air France confirms that in similar fashion to other airlines, it is being questioned by the European Commission about links between the EU and Japan. Air France is providing the Commission with its full cooperation," it said in a Wednesday statement.
The European Commission this week began unannounced inspections at the offices of a number of international passenger airlines, operating long-haul flights to Japan, on suspicions of price-fixing.
"The Commission has reason to believe that the companies concerned may have violated EC rules on restrictive business practices," it said in a statement.
In a statement released on Tuesday, German flag carrier Lufthansa admitted its offices were raided.
"The European Commission is conducting an investigation in the offices of Deutsche Lufthansa AG in Frankfurt today. According to information from the investigation decision, the Commission has information that passenger aviation companies including Lufthansa in Europe and in Japan may have taken part in anti-competitive price-fixing and collusive behaviour in traffic between the EU and Japan," it said.
The statement added that it was cooperating with the EC "in full and willingly providing all the requested information."
Lufthansa was investigated in 2006 for airfreight price-fixing and was granted conditional immunity after admitting to wrongdoing.
KLM, partner airline of Air France, confirmed Tuesday its offices had been searched in relation to "possible anti-competitive behaviour regarding passenger services on routes from Europe to Japan" and said it would cooperate with investigators.
Reports indicated that Alitalia was raided as well though this was yet to be confirmed by the airline.
British Airways and Virgin Atlantic Airlines said they were not raided while Iberia said it had no information on the investigation.