LAN refutes "predatory pricing" claims by Chile's PAL

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Chilean airline group LAN has rejected claims presented by its local competitor PAL Airlines to the Chilean Competition Defense Court (TDLC), accusing the Oneworld carrier of "predatory pricing".

PAL had claimed that LAN's actions had "expelled" it from the route between Santiago and Cordoba in Argentina.

Responding to the document filed by PAL as part of the public hearing process into LAN's planned merger with Brazil's TAM, LAN said that it has "never offered fares below cost" nor did it increase frequencies on the Santiago-Cordoba route in response to PAL's market entry.

PAL operated on the route for a short time several months ago, but abandoned it after experiencing low load factors despite offering relatively low fares.

The TLDC opened on 26 May a formal process to evaluate the competitive implications of the proposed merger between LAN and TAM, following a request for a formal investigation by consumer rights organization CONADECUS. The TLDC must publish its findings within 90 days, which means 24 August is the deadline for at least an interim ruling.