The Belgian Competition Authority closes two investigations relating to cargo handling at Brussels Airport

On 1 April 2015, the Investigation Service of the Belgian Competition Authority concluded that competition law was not infringed, after an investigation into two ground-handling companies (Aviapartner and ex-Flightcare, now Swissport) that offer cargo-handling services to airlines at Brussels Airport.

The competition prosecutor had opened an investigation into the two handling companies in 2010, and they were subject to inspections in June 2010. The in-depth investigation focused on the two companies' loading and freight transport services between aircraft and warehouses, offered to airlines by a licence granted by Brussels Airport following a European-directive selection procedure.

The prosecutor investigated potential abuse of a collective dominant position and/or illegal agreements affecting competition.

The prosecutor suspected that the companies had used their market power in the airside cargo market (on tarmac) as leverage for a greater market share in the downstream cargo market for landside freight (off tarmac). However, after a thorough investigation, the prosecutor concluded that the competition rules had not been infringed, and he closed the file on 1 April 2015, leaving the two handlers totally cleared.

A second investigation was launched by the prosecutor for possible illegal agreements between ground-handling companies (Aviapartner, Flightcare, Swissport Cargo Services Belgium, Worldwide Flight Services Belgium and Skylink) within the association Contactgroep Cargo Afhandelaars Brucargo (CCAB). The depth of the Commission's investigation did not reveal any infringement of competition law and the investigation was also closed on 1 April 2015.