Competition law – Factors for dominance
16 July, 2015
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has recently set aside the application of the informant alleging contravention of the provisions of Section 4 of the Competition Act, by one the airlines in India. The informant was of the view that the airline, being dominant in the market, has devised a standard form of terms and conditions for the public and any person desirous of travelling by it is required to accept those conditions in totality, irrespective of how onerous and one-sided the terms and conditions may be.
The Commission however, in its order dated 25-6-2015 found no prima facie case of contravention of the provisions of Section 4. It was held that there was absence of dominance of the airline in the market of air transport services for passengers in India. For determination of dominance or the absence of it, the Commission first noted that the airline in question was a leading player in terms of domestic passengers availing the airline services. However, it took into consideration other aspects as well, and compared value of total assets of the competing companies also.
The airline was found to be not dominant by the Commission as it observed that size of the asset value of the airline in question was lesser than that of other airlines. It was noted that presence of other players in a significant way in the relevant market indicates that the consumers had option to avail service from other players, and they could easily compare fare, timing and availability of seats across various airline companies, incurring negligible cost.