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Competition Commission to investigate alleged collusion between SAA, Mango

The DA requested the probe after SAA said it had leased aircraft to Mango at a discounted price.

FILE: A South African Airways (SAA) flight takes off as another one is parked in a bay on the tarmac at the Johannesburg O.R Tambo International airport in Johannesburg, South Africa. . AFP PHOTO/GIANLUIGI GUERCIA

CAPE TOWN - The Competition Commission has confirmed it will be investigating alleged collusion between South African Airways (SAA) and Mango Airlines.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) requested the probe after the national airline said in a statement, earlier this month, that it had leased aircraft to low-cost carrier Mango at a discounted price.

SAA, which was responding to the departure of Mango CEO Nico Bezuidenhout to Fastjet, later back-tracked claiming there was full-cost recovery for the lease agreements.

The embattled state-owned airline now faces a Competition Commission probe into whether it helped low-cost carrier Mango to the disadvantage of its competitors.

Competition Commission spokesperson Itumeleng Lesofe's confirmed receipt of the DA's complaint.

"In terms of the Competition Act, once a complaint has been filed with the commission, we have a statutory mandate or rather an obligation to conduct an investigation."

The DA's Natasha Mazzone has welcomed the move, saying it's a step towards tackling uncompetitive business practices in the airline industry.

Among the questions the party would like the investigation to answer, is how much the leasing arrangement cost taxpayers.