The Antimonopoly Office of the Slovak Republic, the Division of Abuse of Dominant Position and Vertical Agreements, has issued Letisko M. R. Štefánika – Airport Bratislava, a.s. with a €127,000 (US$157,000) fine for the “abuse of its dominant position” with regard to its general aviation operations at M. R. Štefánik Airport in Brastislava.
On July 1, 2016, M. R. Štefánik Airport introduced a fee for ‘full VIP’ services provided in the general aviation terminal, with the fee paid by every departing passenger passing through the terminal.
The anti-competitive complaint against the company revolved around the setting of the fee – all passengers were being charged the €49 (US$60) ‘full VIP’ service fee regardless of whether they were interested in or using the ‘full VIP’ services.
The Antimonopoly Office evaluated the conduct of M. R. Štefánik Airport as the abuse of dominant position by inappropriate conditions according to the Article 8 Paragraph 2 Letter a) of the Act on Protection of Competition and Article 102 Letter a) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. The anti-competitive conduct ended on August 31, 2017.
Within the administrative proceedings, M. R. Štefánik Airport submitted an application for settlement according to Article 1 Paragraph 1 of the Decree of the Antimonopoly Office of the Slovak Republic, which establishes the details of settlement conditions. After evaluating all facts, the Office agreed with settlement process, and reduced the fine by 30% of the original fine imposed on M. R. Štefánik Airport to €127,000 (US$157,000).
The decision came into force on February 5, 2018, and the airport will pay the fine within 60 days as per the prescribed time limit enforced by the Antimonopoly Office.
In a statement sent to Business Airport International, the airport wrote, “As this service was provided as a handling service [it is not an airport infrastructure fee]and there were no complaints of our clients, we found this fee to be transparent. However, Bratislava Airport decided that as of September 1, 2017, the full VIP service would be provided for general aviation and private flights as a voluntary service only.”
General aviation customers are permitted to use the terminal free of charge, but can pay the €49 (US$60) excluding VAT charge to upgrade to the ‘full VIP’ service, which includes an unlimited stay in the VIP zone of the terminal including a selection of snacks and free parking directly in front of the terminal.