Competition Commission raids airline offices

The Competition Commission said on Tuesday that it had successfully conducted a search-and-seize operation at the offices of South African Airways (SAA), Mango Airlines and the Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA).

The commission said that the searches, conducted on March 31 2010, form part of its investigation into collusion in the airlines industry around the Soccer World Cup period, and were prompted by the commission’s suspicion that SAA and Mango might have withheld information having a bearing on the investigation.

The commission said that it had seized documents and electronic data “which will now be analysed together with other information gathered to determine whether a contravention of the Competition Act has taken place”.

The commission is authorised to enter and search premises and seize documents, which have a bearing on an investigation in terms of section 48 of the Competition Act.

Section 46(2) (b) of the Act authorises a judge or magistrate to issue the commission with a warrant allowing it and accompanying police officers to enter and search such premises, the commission said.

Earlier this year, the commission initiated an investigation against SAA, Mango, BA/Comair, 1Time, SA Airlink, and SA Express for allegedly colluding on World Cup prices and pricing strategies.

This, after the Presidency asked the commission to look into concerns that airlines planned to hike air fares during the soccer tournament. — I-Net Bridge, Sapa

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