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Airlines shouldn't justify fare hikes with algorithms, German cartel chief says

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Airlines shouldn't justify fare hikes with algorithms, German cartel chief says

Airlines shouldn't justify fare hikes with algorithms, German cartel chief says
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FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Airlines shouldn’t be allowed to hide behind computer-based price increases when justifying higher fares, the head of the German cartel office said in a newspaper interview published on Thursday, as authorities review a recent spike in ticket prices.

In November, the German cartel office asked national airline Lufthansa <LHAG.DE> for information on ticket prices after receiving complaints over rising fares following the collapse of Air Berlin <AB1.DE>, Germany’s second largest carrier.

Lufthansa said at the time it was cooperating fully with the cartel office and had not changed its pricing structures, which comprise up to 26 different fares per flight and were automatically determined by software.

“Such algorithms aren’t written by god in the heavens,” Andreas Mundt told the Sueddeutsche Zeitung.

Lufthansa has said that the insolvency of Air Berlin has led to a capacity bottleneck and therefore the cheapest tickets are being sold sooner.

A Lufthansa spokeswoman on Thursday declined to comment.

(Reporting by Tom Sims; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

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