Judge kicks out Webjet fuel bid

Judge kicks out Webjet fuel bid
By admin

Webjet has insisted it remains confident the company will receive $110,000 in back dated commission from Singapore Airlines despite losing its bid to rejoin the fuel surcharge class action.

Sydney Federal Court judge, Justice Robertson threw out Webjet’s application to be reinstated, reported exclusively last week by Travel Today, and ordered the online retailer to pay costs to Singapore.

Webjet has originally opted out of the class action in 2007.

In his complex legal judgement, Justice Robertson said he was “not persuaded that discretion should be exercised in favour of Webjet”.

Webjet non executive chairman David Clarke, who was managing director when the fuel class action began in 2006, said the company was disappointed with the ruling but argued the judgement did not mean its claim for cash was not justified.

“The court said it felt it did not have appropriate discretion to allow a late entrant. It did not say our claim was not justified,” Clarke told Travel Today. “We will consider our position but would find it disappointing if any supplier were to seek to avoid its commercial responsibilities as a consequence of a legal loophole.”

Pressed further, Clarke spelt out that he expects the carrier pay up.

“The fundamental thing is that the process of the class action and its subsequent success simply vindicates, in our view, that these sums are due to us.”

The fact Webjet opted out has no bearing on its legitimate right to be paid back dated commission on the fuel levy, he stressed.

“Whether we chose to be involved at the beginning or at the end should not make any difference. It doesn’t mean the liability isn’t due to us,” he said. “We expect the supplier to pay. Singapore Airlines is a company of integrity so I would expect to them to pay. Companies of integrity meet their obligations.”

Clarke refused to be drawn on the prospects of separate legal action until talks had taken place with Singapore.

But he added: “We could if we so chose, pursue the debt by separate proceedings outside of class action.”

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

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