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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Monday, 25.03.2019, 00:04

EU court's opinion: flyLAL-airBaltic dispute can be heard in Lithuania

BC, Vilnius, 28.02.2018.Print version
The advocate general of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) thinks that a dispute between the bankrupt flyLAL-Lithuanian Airlines and Latvia's airBaltic and Riga Airport can be heard in Lithuanian courts, reports LETA/BNS.

The Lithuanian Court of Appeals in January 2017 asked the ECJ for a preliminary ruling on whether the dispute can be heard in Lithuania, rather than in Latvia where the  defendants, airBaltic and Riga Airport, are domiciled.


Advocate General Michal Bobek on Wednesday published his opinion, which is yet to be approved by the EU court.


The Lithuanian Court of Appeals put three questions to the ECJ related to the place where the harmful event occurred.


In Bobek's opinion, both Lithuania, where airBaltic's branch operated, and Latvia, where the Latvian airline and Riga Airport concluded the alleged anti-competitive agreement, can be considered as the place of the event giving rise to the damage.


"As regards the alleged anti-competitive agreement between airBaltic and Riga Airport (...),  the place of the event giving rise to the harm (that is, the loss of sales by flyLAL), is the place of the conclusion of the agreement. Assuming all other conditions are fulfilled, the courts of that place would have jurisdiction (...) to hear an action against both those entities for damages caused by that anti-competitive agreement," the advocate general said.


"As regards the alleged predatory pricing by airBaltic (...), the place of the event giving rise to the harm is the place where the predatory prices were offered and applied. Assuming all other conditions are fulfilled, the courts of that place would have jurisdiction (...) to hear an action against airBaltic for damages caused by that predatory pricing", " he said. 


FlyLAL sued airBaltic and Riga Airport for damages due to their alleged agreement on lower prices at the Latvian airport. FlyLAL claims that airBaltic's alleged predatory pricing in Vilnius Airport ousted it from the flight market.


Following around seven years of litigation, the Vilnius Regional Court in January 2016 ordered airBaltic to pay 16.121 million euros in damages to flyLAL.


Latvia's competition authority ruled back in 2006 that discounts offered by Riga Airport distorted the market and favored two companies -- airBaltic and Ireland's Ryanair.







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