Greece’s Competition Commission fined Greece’s two biggest airlines, Olympic and Aegean, a total of 210,000 euros for complicity in reducing the commission paid to travel agents, from 9.25 percent to 6.94 percent, on tickets for domestic flights.
According to an announcement by the Hellenic Association of Tourism & Travel Agents (HATTA), the commission found that the two carriers’ decision violated provisions regarding free competition. An agreement reached with the airlines last December provides for Olympic to pay a commission fee of 8.5 percent and for Aegean 8 percent, retroactively from November 1, 2001, the announcement said.
The travel agency association also said that around the end of November it expects a court ruling on the injunction it has brought against KLM, Lufthansa, Air France and Austrian Airlines for their decision to half the commission fee paid for tickets to foreign destinations. The association said that such a commission does not cover even its operating costs. Negotiations with the carriers are continuing.
Greek travel trade professionals had called an emergency general assembly of all travel organizations back in November of 2001 to go as far as to stop selling domestic airline tickets after local carriers had swiftly cut agency commissions down to the 6.94%. Representatives of the airlines in question had attended the assembly and told all that the airlines had lost tremendous amounts of money because of high fuel prices even before the September 11 attacks and that costs had to be cut in order to survive.