Abuse of dominant position confirmed

  • 2010-04-08
  • From wire reports

VILNIUS - The Lithuanian Supreme Administrative Court (LVAT) has ruled that the Competition Council reasonably recognized that the Vilnius International Airport (TVOU) had abused its dominant position and violated competition law as well as requirements of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, reports news agency ELTA. The Competition Council, which carried out an investigation in November 2008, determined that the TVOU violated the prohibition to abuse a dominant position by not giving an opportunity to use the airport’s infrastructures to the company Naftelf, without objective grounds. Naftelf wanted to supply fuel to aircraft.

The TVOU has an exclusive right to manage infrastructure at Vilnius Airport, thus the activities of other economic entities depend on TVOU’s behavior. Moreover, the TVOU itself used to supply fuel to aircraft as well.
In this way, the TVOU, being directly involved in the supply of aircraft fuel and seeking protection of its position in these activities, did not allow Naftelf to use the infrastructure of the airport in order to protect itself from a potential competitor.
“It is important that the LVAT confirmed the findings of the Competition Council, that the existence of a new market participant would have created more competition and, consequently, that it would have reduced fuel costs for airlines,” Elonas Satas, head of the Law and Competition Policy Division of the Competition Council, commented on the court’s ruling.

During the last three years, the Competition Council has recognized, in four cases, that the TVOU infringed on the provisions of the Competition Law, i.e. abused its dominant position as a manager of the airport’s infrastructure, which is necessary for commercial operations at the airport.