Flight Centre to appeal Federal Court ruling

Flight Centre to appeal Federal Court ruling
By admin


Flight Centre has confirmed it will appeal Friday’s decision by the Federal Court to uphold the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s test case against it in the long-running price fixing case.

The Federal Court ruled that on six occasions between 2005 and 2009, Flight Centre had attempted to enter into arrangements with Singapore, Malaysia Airlines and Emirates to ensure it offered the cheapest fares and was not undercut on the web. Under its “Price Beat” guarantee, Flight Centre assures its customers that it will beat any cheaper airfare sourced from a competitor by $1 with an additional $20 voucher also offered – a promise that sometimes resulted in “less revenue”, according to the ACCC.

The competition regulator welcomed the result, branding it an “important judgement”.

“The ACCC was concerned about the effect on competition of Flight Centre’s conduct, which the Court has now found attempted to eliminate differences in the international airfares offered to consumers,” chairman Rod Sims said.

“The detail of the judgement will be considered carefully before we return to the Court for a hearing as to penalty and the form of orders to be made by the Court.”

However, Flight Centre confirmed that it would appeal the ruling, saying that a preliminary analysis of the judge’s findings had revealed “errors of law”.

“FLT also believes that this morning’s Federal Court ruling represents an inappropriate extension of the law that may have implications for retailers and agents in other business segments,” a statement said.

“The company does not expect the test case ruling to affect its operations or its business model, as the focus was on a narrow area of activity between 2005 and 2009.”

However, the company acknowledged that the decision to appeal the judgement will not affect the penalty hearing that has been set down for December 19.

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