QF in frame over Webjet fuel U-turn

QF in frame over Webjet fuel U-turn
By admin

Webjet has made a late dramatic bid to overturn a four-year-old decision to opt out of the fuel surcharge class action amid claims it was originally pressured to withdraw by Qantas.

The online retailer gave notice of its intention to try and re-join the legal proceedings at a hearing in Sydney Federal Court today.
If successful, it will enable Webjet to receive payouts from both Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific, although it is not thought to have made claims against Cathay.
Singapore Airlines and Cathay – who have agreed to settle the long running dispute with travel agents – objected to the application.
Alister Abadee, acting for Webjet, told the court that the firm originally opted out of the class action “on or about” March 3 2008.
While apologising that “evidence is not ready” to support its application to be reinstated, Abadee said “commercial considerations that attended its decision to opt out in 2008 have changed”.
In addition, being part of a settlement now with Singapore and Cathay would avoid the need to launch separate legal proceedings, he said.
In objecting to Webjet’s reinstatement, Michael Legg, acting for Singapore Airlines, told Justice Robertson that a letter informing the carrier of Webjet’s intentions “alluded to pressure from Qantas being involved in the reason for Webjet changing its mind”.
“My client has no visibility of what Qantas may or may not have done in relationship to Webjet,” he said. “That obviously puts us at a disadvantage if we are going to have things from four years ago re-agitated at this point.”
Legg added it was “disingenuous” for Webjet to opt out four years ago and seek to re-join “at a point when there is a settlement”.
“If it was possible to be able to revoke an opt out for commercial considerations then pretty much everyone who opted out could do so,” he told the court.
Webjet’s reference to Qantas will reignite the 2008 controversy when the carrier offered commercial terms based on agents withdrawing from the action.
A full hearing into the Webjet application will take place on April 24. Qantas may possibly be subpoenaed.

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