After 7 years investigating, the European Commission has decided to close its antitrust investigation into a codeshare agreement between TAP Air Portugal and Brussels Airlines relating to the Lisbon-Brussels route.
The investigation started in 2011 with simultaneous dawn-raids in Lisbon and Brussels and progressed up to the Statement of Objections issued against both companies in 2016. In 2017, an oral hearing took place in Brussels. During the hearing, a heated exchange of arguments occurred and the airlines accused the Commission of serious flaws in its case.
In a rare move, the Commission now decided to step back before the final decision was adopted.
TAP Air Portugal was advised by VdA – Vieira de Almeida, with a team composed of partner Miguel Mendes Pereira and associates Rita Aleixo Gregório and Cláudia Coutinho da Costa.
Miguel Mendes Pereira said: “We are glad the Commission acknowledged that the case against TAP was not as strong as it may have seemed originally. But most importantly, the role of code-share agreements is safeguarded. Calling into question the legality of code-share agreements would have dealt a serious blow to the European air transport industry.”
The press release of the Commission is available here