Legal D-Day looms for Air NZ

Legal D-Day looms for Air NZ
By admin

Air New Zealand is making final preparations for not one, but two legal battles which are scheduled to take place simultaneously in Sydney Federal Court next week.

The carrier will head to court on Monday ready to contest a price fixing allegation bought by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and, separately, with lawyers representing travel agents in the long running fuel surcharge class action.

Both cases are due to begin on Monday morning.

The latter of the two cases dates back to 2006 when Air New Zealand was named alongside Qantas, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, British Airways and Malaysia Airlines in the class action. Lawyers claim commission on the fuel levy, which was withheld by carriers, should have been paid.

Agents won on appeal what was regarded as a test case against Qantas with all the other carriers later settling, with the exception of Air New Zealand. The case has been listed to last six days.

At the same time as the commission case gets underway, Air NZ’s legal team will begin its defence of allegations that it was part of a fuel and freight price fixing cartel.

The ACCC is also taking action against Garuda, Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines and Thai Airways in proceedings which have been set down for three months.

Several carriers have already been fined a collective $68 million, with Emirates the latest to settle the dispute after it was ordered to pay $10 million for its involvement in the cartel.

“The ACCC has been pursuing this large and complex litigation for four years so the October trial will be an important milestone in our continuing fight to stop the cartel conduct,” ACCC chairman Rod Sims said.

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