North

Competition Bureau goes to court to get information from Canadian North, First Air

A federal court has granted a court order for two Northern airlines to provide information to the Competition Bureau for its ongoing investigation into their alleged anti-competitive conduct.

Airlines' codeshare and alleged predatory pricing under investigation

The Competition Bureau filed an application Oct. 20 with the Federal Court to get information from Canadian North and First Air. (Canadian North)

A federal court has granted a court order for two Northern airlines to provide information to the Competition Bureau for its ongoing investigation into their alleged anti-competitive conduct.

The bureau filed an application Oct. 20 with the Federal Court to get the information from Canadian North and First Air.

The bureau is reviewing the airlines' codeshare agreement and allegations they have engaged in predatory pricing.

The codeshare agreement came into effect in 2015, after Canadian North and First Air called off merger talks. First Air has said the codeshare agreements that allow for sharing of passengers and cargo on select routes are needed to keep the company's operations financially viable.

According to the transcript of a Federal Court hearing held Oct. 26 in Ottawa, the bureau was seeking records spanning an 18-month period starting Jan. 1, 2014. 

In the transcript, Chief Justice Paul Crampton states "I'm assuming you want to assess competitive conditions for that period and compare them with competitive conditions after the codeshare and after the alleged predatory pricing. So I'm satisfied that the relevant period isn't excessive, disproportionate or unduly burdensome."

One item the judge questioned was the number of routes for which the bureau was requesting information. The judge asks how many routes each airline operates beyond the 16 codeshare routes.

When he is told Canadian North has about 20 routes total, First Air, 30, he concludes a request for system-wide information is fair "because clearly you need some routes beyond the codeshare to compare what's going on in the codeshare."

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