CCCS Issues Guidance Note to Streamline its Review of Airline Alliance Agreements
The Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (“CCCS”) has issued a guidance note to provide airlines with more clarity on the competition assessment of airline alliance agreements (the “Airline Guidance Note”). Greater clarity and streamlining of CCCS’s review process and criteria will facilitate easier self-assessment of airline alliance agreements, and when a notification is made to CCCS, a timeline is provided for review.
Singapore’s open skies policy encourages both local and foreign airlines to grow their connectivity at Changi and helped Singapore grow as a key air hub in the region. Airline alliances can enhance operational efficiencies, and provide benefits to the traveling public, for example, through seamless travel and lower airfares. On the other hand, certain forms of airline alliances can potentially restrict competition, and lead to fewer options and higher airfares.
In this regard, the Airline Guidance Note aims to assist airlines in their self-assessment of whether their alliance agreements will breach Section 34 of the Competition Act (Cap. 50B), which prohibits anti-competitive agreements in Singapore, and whether the alliance generates economic benefits that would outweigh competition concerns. After such a self-assessment, should an airline choose to notify CCCS for guidance or decision, the Airline Guidance Note would serve to further provide assistance on how such notifications should be made and set out the required documentation for CCCS’s review.