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Europe

Airlines face European antitrust investigation

Cooperation deals between airlines may be hurting competition, according to a new European Commission investigation launched on Monday.

The tailfins of a Lufthansa and United airlines planes

Cooperation deals between airlines have raised concerns

The European Union's executive will investigate whether deals between certain airlines result in an increase in prices on transatlantic routes.

Star Alliance members Air Canada, Continental, Lufthansa and United are the focus of one investigation. The other concerns Oneworld members American Airlines, British Airways and Iberia, according to a statement released in Brussels.

In both cases, the airlines jointly manage schedules, capacity and pricing on routes between the European Union and North America. That level of cooperation "appears far more extensive" than the general cooperation between alliance members, the commission said in a statement.

"The commission is assessing whether these joint activities may lead to restrictions of competition on certain transatlantic routes," according to the statement.

The commission stressed that it has no general problem with the airline agreements, which allow travellers to collect frequent flier miles even when flying on a partner airline.

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