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Lufthansa rejects Condor allegations of market position abuse

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FILE PHOTO: Lufthansa planes are seen parked on the tarmac of Frankfurt Airport
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BERLIN (Reuters) - Lufthansa on Wednesday rejected charter airline Condor's accusations that it was abusing its market position in cancelling an agreement between the two companies late last year, months after the larger German carrier received a bailout.

Lufthansa was granted a 9 billion euro ($10 billion) government bailout that came with conditions to preserve competition including the transfer to rivals of some take-off and landing slots at German airports.

Condor has complained that its larger rival abused its market dominance when it cancelled an agreement that allowed Condor passengers to use Lufthansa feeder flights as part of their journeys to holiday destinations.

Earlier this month, Condor asked the European Court of Justice to stop Lufthansa from cancelling the agreement.

Lufthansa on Wednesday said the approval of the state aid and its conditions were in line with European Union law. It said Condor's complaints to the German cartel office regarding Lufthansa were unjustified.

"Condor should also simply face the competition and prove its own future viability," Michael Niggemann, a Lufthansa board member, said in a statement.

Niggemann said Lufthansa could not be accused of competing with Condor routes and that there were no route monopolies.

"We cannot relieve Condor of the entrepreneurial risk," he added.

Airlines across the globe have been brought to the brink of financial ruin by the collapse in global travel due to the coronavirus pandemic.

(Reporting by Klaus Lauer; Writing by Riham Alkousaa; Editing by Paul Simao)