Air NZ disputes value of case

Air NZ disputes value of case
By admin


Air New Zealand has rejected reports which estimate the value of the fuel surcharge action is in the order of $129 million.

Other reports highlighting the value as “not less that $80 million”, are also incorrect, the carrier’s counsel, Robert Stitt QC, said.

On the second day of the class action against Air New Zealand in Sydney’s Federal Court, Stitt said the amounts in question were “nothing like $129 million, nothing like $80 million”.

“It is minuscule,” he told the court.

Judge Robertson acknowledged the amount in issue as being in the order of $40,000, but Alan Sullivan QC, acting on behalf of travel agents, argued that the true value of the action remains unclear.

“At this stage we do not concede or acknowledge the damages for all group members is likely to be $40,000 or less,” he said.

Sullivan claimed Air New Zealand had access to the quantum of each case through its links with the International Air Transport Association, of which the carrier is a member.

“Air NZ has all the data but has not made it available to us,” he said.

But Air New Zealand countered that the applicant had access to the identity of those involved in the class action, which the airline was not party to, which could also clarify the amount at stake.

“We don’t know who the class is said to constitute,” Stitt said.

Despite the airline urging the court not to split the proceedings to determine liability and quantum separately, Judge Robertson said a hearing to determine the amount would be take place in 2013, should a ruling go in favour of travel agents.

Earlier, lawyers for Air NZ said the only evidence submitted to the court by the applicant – Leonie’s Travel – was an air ticket claiming $1.10 was owed in unpaid commission.

“That is perilously close to de minimis,” Stitt said, a reference to when an amount is regarded in a court as irrelevant.

The case continues.

Email the Travel Weekly team at traveldesk@travelweekly.com.au

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