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British Airways PLC v. Commission

Case T-219/99, 2003 E.C.R. II-5917 (2003)

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British Airways PLC v. Commission

European Union Court of First Instance

Case T-219/99, 2003 E.C.R. II-5917 (2003)

Facts

Travel agents competed with each other to sell seats on flights operated by British Airways PLC (BA) (defendant) at reasonable costs to passengers. If travel agents selling tickets for BA flights hit their individual sales-growth targets, BA paid them an increased rate of commission. BA paid the increased rate on tickets sold after the agent hit his or her target and also for all other tickets the agent sold during a specified time period. As a result, different agents selling the same amount of revenue received different commission rates based on their individual sales figures and target-growth rates. In addition, each travel agent’s ability to compete depended in part on his or her financial resources. The European Commission (commission) (plaintiff) commenced an investigation into BA’s commission practices, ultimately finding that BA’s performance rewards constituted an abuse of its dominant market position in the United Kingdom air-travel market by producing discriminatory effects on travel agents in paying them different rates for identical services. BA appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning

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