The Commission for the Protection of Competition recently published Interim Decision 15/2015 concerning a complaint filed by A Princess Airport Ltd, C & A Stop and Fly Ltd, Air Park-CAA Car Services Ltd and X Xanthos Airport Parking Services against Hermes Airports Ltd. The applicants requested that an interim order be issued regarding an alleged violation of Sections 3(1)(a) and (d), 6(1)(a), (b) and (c) and 6(2) of the Protection of Competition Laws 2008 and 2014.
The applicants provide valet services and parking spaces to customers departing from Larnaca International Airport. Upon arrival, customers pick up their vehicles from a designated parking area provided by the respondent. The respondent manages the airport and other services, such as short and long-stay car parks within the airport, as well as offering parking spaces from which undertakings that provide valet services can carry out their business activities.
The complaint concerned alleged price fluctuations and changes to designated parking spaces that the respondent had implemented without prior consultation and negotiation with the applicants. The applicants argued that the parking space relocation would result in a restriction of competition and give the respondent a monopoly, as it already offered a long-stay parking facility. Thus, the applicants requested that an interim measure be issued ordering a return to the previous regime until a profitable agreement could be reached.
The respondent argued that:
- the alterations regarding the designated car parking spaces were associated with an upgrade to the relevant infrastructure;
- the spaces offered to valet services were the most prominent among Larnaca Airport's parking spaces; and
- a general pricing policy was in place.
The commission considered all of the arguments and held that the criteria specified in Sections 6(1) and 6(2) of the Protection of Competition Laws had not been satisfied for the purposes of issuing an interim order; neither had the requirement of Section 28(2) – the existence of urgency due to the risk of irreparable damage to competition – been met. As a result, the interim application was dismissed.
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