Flight Centre in price fix claim

Flight Centre in price fix claim
By admin

Flight Centre sent an “unequivocal message” to Singapore Airlines to stop undercutting the agency in a move that amounted to “a plain case of price fixing”, a court has been told.

The retailer made an “implicit threat” to the carrier that it would stop selling Singapore flights if the practice continued.

In the first week of a price fixing case bought against Flight Centre by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), Brisbane Federal Court heard that Flight Centre ordered a “slow sell/stop sell” policy whereby it would only sell Singapore tickets if requested by the customer. The policy came into effect after the two companies failed to reach a deal.

The ACCC has accused Flight Centre of colluding with Singapore, Malaysia Airlines and Emirates on six occasions between 2005 and 2009 in a bid to ensure Flight Centre had the cheapest fares and were not undercut on the web.

Media outlets reported how an email from a Flight Centre executive to Singapore, and read out in court, asked the airline: “Why do you go out of your way to undercut travel agents?”.

An internal memo by the same executive read: “We need to be more strategic in our control of distribution so it’s important to know Singapore Airline’s intentions”.

The court also heard how an executive told Singapore that it “will effect the way we price beat” if it was undercut.

Flight Centre denies that it tried to fix prices. The case has been set down for three weeks.

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

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