Airlines can’t blame computer models for higher fares: German cartel chief

Airlines should not be allowed to hide behind computerized models when they justify higher fares, the German cartel official said in an interview published on Thursday as authorities examine allegations of recent price increase.

In November, the cartel office asked the national airline Lufthansa for price information after receiving complaints about rising fares following the collapse of Air Berlin, the second largest large German carrier.

Lufthansa stated at the time that it was cooperating fully with the cartel and had not changed its fare structures, which included up to 26 different fares per flight and were automatically determined by software.

"Such algorithms are not written by God in heaven," Andreas Mundt told Süddeutsche Zeitung. "Businesses can not hide behind algorithms." A spokesman for Lufthansa said Thursday that the airline has not increased fares on domestic flights or domestic flights in Europe for more than a year.

He adds that the insolvency of Air Berlin has removed 100 aircraft and 60,000 seats per day.

"As a result, the available flights are booked more quickly," he said. "It can happen that by booking short-term on some routes, only relatively more expensive booking classes are available." Carsten Spohr, managing director of Lufthansa, referred to the investigation into the Cartel Office in a recent interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung. the airline would be absolved of any wrongdoing.

"It's good because during the investigation, it will be determined that we are not taking advantage of any market dominance in the short term," said Mr. Spohr.

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