Commission accepts commitments by Renfe opening up competition in online rail ticketing in Spain

Source: European Commission

The European Commission has made commitments by Renfe legally binding under EU antitrust rules. The commitments address the Commission’s preliminary competition concerns relating to Renfe’s refusal to supply all its content and real-time data related to its passenger rail transport services to rival ticketing platforms.

The Commission’s preliminary concerns

Renfe, the Spanish state-owned rail incumbent operator, competes with companies providing online ticketing services to customers through apps or websites. These third-party ticketing platforms need to have access to Renfe’s full content and real-time data displayed on Renfe’s own digital channels to tailor their offers to the customers’ needs and compete effectively with Renfe’s online distribution channels.

In April 2023, the Commission opened a formal investigation over concerns that Renfe may have abused its dominant position in the Spanish passenger rail transport market by refusing to provide rival ticketing platforms with: (i) full content concerning its range of tickets, discounts and features; and (ii) real-time data (pre-journey, on-journey or post-journey) related to its passenger rail transport services.

The Commission preliminarily found that Renfe’s refusal to provide its full content and real-time data may have prevented rival platforms from competing with Renfe’s own direct digital channels to the detriment of consumers. Such behaviour may breach EU competition rules, which prohibit the abuse of a dominant position (Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (‘TFEU’)).


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