Webjet surcharge struggle continues

Webjet surcharge struggle continues
By admin

Webjet has accused Singapore Airlines of acting “unreasonably,” as it urged Sydney’s Federal Court to allow it to opt back in to the fuel surcharge class action.
At a hearing today, the online retailer urged the court to overturn its four-year-old decision to opt out of legal proceedings against Sinmgapore Airlines and Cathay.  
It revealed its claim against Singapore Airlines as $110,000 but said that could be eclipsed by high court costs if it was forced to instigate individual proceedings in the district court.
Alister Abadee, acting for Webjet, reiterated the online retailer’s claims that it had pulled out due to commercial pressure, following Webjet’s claims earlier this month it had been pressured to withdraw by Qantas.
“The reason why the decision was made to opt out in March 2008 was the concern Webjet had that if it participated in the proceeding as a group member then that would have an adverse commercial effect on its ability to access inventory and receive commission from international airlines,” Abadee said.
Abadee said, as a “fledgling entity”, Webjet’s commercial position had not been strong enough for such challenges. However, it had now “solidified” prompting it to reconsider its position.
In response, Michael Legg, acting for Singapore Airlines, said there had been ample opportunity for Webjet to attempt to opt back in as a group member before the case had been settled and highlighted the “economic considerations” of reinstating it.
“When Singapore Airlines settled the case, it was based on a knowledge of who had opted out,” he said. He identified Webjet as the class action’s largest claimant, and said extending the airline’s settlement offer to the retailer would dramatically increase its costs.
In addition, he claimed it would be unfair on other claimants who had persevered with the case despite potential risks and could set a precedent for other parties that had opted out to also seek to benefit from the settlement’s terms.
The next hearing will take place on May 2.

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