Train wars in Spain: Government-run operator Renfe takes action against rival over ‘too low’ prices

SPAIN’S public rail company Renfe will complain to the European Commission about French-owned rival Ouigo over its low prices being ‘unfair competition’.

Transport Minister, Oscar Puente, confirmed on Thursday that Renfe will be making a submission to Brussels.

Puente did not elaborate on the specific charge that Renfe will lay down but a source from the operator told the El Mundo newspaper that it would relate to unfair competition.


Despite Ouigo and Iryo entering the battle for high-speed rail customers, Renfe is still the dominant company in the market.

Three operators and four brands have been competing since 2021, which led to a big fall in prices- ending Renfe’s monopoly- and attracting more passengers.

Ouigo belongs to the French public operator SNCF and was the first competitor that Renfe had to deal with.

It started with pricing strategy with tickets available from €9 which forced the Spanish company to respond with the launch of AVLO- its own low-cost brand.

Despite a big increase in demand, Ouigo’s aggressive commercial strategy raised shackles in the corridors of Renfe bosses..

Minister Puente accused Ouigo of ‘dumping’ prices and operating well below a proper business model and at a loss, propped up by parent company SNCF.

The Spanish government believes that double standards are at play with barriers being put up to stop Renfe running services in France.

It has trying for over two years to offer connections on the Lyon-Paris line from July to coincide with the Olympic Games in Paris.

The line is regarded as one of the most profitable in Europe but Renfe says it has encountered constant obstacles from France which has made it impossible to launch the service.

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