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Airline Price-Fixing Probe - Offices Raided by European Commission

European offices of international airlines searched

The European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, did a surprise search of offices of Germany's Lufthansa, KLM Dutch Airlines, the Dutch arm of Air France and Italy's Aitalia. They're investigating claims that the airlines are involved in price-fixing on long-haul flights.

The commission says it has information that passenger airlines are corroborating in anti-competitive price-fixing on flights from Europe to Airlines Raided!Airlines Raided!Japan. The raids were carried out in cooperation with local and national authorities. Surprise inspections are a first step in uncovering suspected cartels but the commission maintains no one's guilty until proven guilty.

Lufthansa released this statement: "Lufthansa is cooperating with the European Commission in full and willingly providing all the requested information."

Japan Airlines Corp and All Nippon Airways in Tokyo are not being probed by the EU but Japanese authorities are conducting a separate investigation. Jonathan Todd, competition representative in Japan, told Forbes.com, "We cannot say whether this was a result of our own concerns or because of a whistle-blower."

Spain's Iberia operates flights to Japan on a code-share basis and is outside the investigation. British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Scandinavian airline SAS also confirmed they were not raided.

If the commission finds the airlines guilty of being involved in an illegal cartel they have the authority to impose hefty fines.

What do you think they should do with the fines collected? Return them to the customers who were gouged?

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yeah like anyone is going to go to the trouble of figuring out who got swindled. Im amazed that anyone is even looking into it - the whole industry is whacked!

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