Aviation

Qantas loses appeal against Virgin convert, forced to continue case in Singapore

The NSW Supreme Court has rejected with costs an appeal by Qantas of a decision that requires the airline to pursue a claim in Singapore to continue its case against one of its former executives.

In January 2021, a new-look Virgin Australia announced several changes to its leadership team. Among these was the arrival of Nick Rohrlach, the former co-CEO of Jetstar Japan, who became the CEO of Velocity, following the departure of Courtney Peterson late last year.

However, prior to accepting his role at Velocity, Rohrlach had accepted a senior role at Qantas Loyalty in October. As a result, Qantas wants to enforce a clause that would postpone his employment at Velocity until September, because it is worried that he will exploit trade secrets in his new job.

Virgin wants Rohrlach to start his role in May, and a case is set to sit before the Singaporean court. This is because Rohrlach signed a contract with Qantas in 2015 in Singapore, which included an ‘exclusive jurisdiction’ clause.

Nick Rohrlach (image source: CAPA)

In March, the NSW Supreme Court heard the question over whether the case should be heard in Australia or Singapore, with Qantas unsuccessfully arguing that it should be heard in Australia.

Justice David Hammerschlag enforced the exclusive jurisdiction clause last month, and appeal judges Tom Bathurst, Andrew Bell and Paul Brereton upheld the decision on Friday 19 March.

A Qantas spokeswoman told Travel Weekly the decision to hear this case in Singapore “makes no sense given all parties are in NSW and Mr Rohrlach’s new job is in Sydney”.

“But, wherever the case is heard, we will defend it strenuously,” the spokeswoman said.

“It beggars belief that we should even have to pursue legal action to get Virgin and Mr Rohrlach to honour a contract that clearly includes a non-compete clause.

“Mr Rohrlach had accepted a senior role at Qantas Loyalty and was briefed on highly sensitive and confidential information in preparation for that role, then turned around a few weeks later to accept a job with a direct competitor.”

A Virgin Australia spokesperson said: “Virgin Australia is pleased with [the] unanimous judgment from the Supreme Court of New South Wales Court of Appeal which dismissed Qantas’ appeal, and ordered Qantas to pay Virgin Australia’s costs.

“Virgin Australia will now prepare for final hearing on the matter in Singapore shortly.”

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Leave a Reply

Events

Bali travel forced to refund attendees after “underwhelming” event

A festival aiming to quench the thirst of those who would rather be in Bali right now was forced to issue refunds and offer free entry after attendees claim they were lied to.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

ScoMo “in no hurry” to reopen Australia’s international borders

It appears the likelihood of more travel bubbles being announced soon is about the same as ScoMo’s beloved Sharkies winning the NRL Premiership this year … not good.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

YIPPEE! Two-way trans-Tasman bubble finally kicks off

Today is the day, folks! As of midnight last night, the two-way trans-Tasman bubble is FINALLY open! Get the lowdown on NZ flights and tour discounts right here.

Share

CommentComments

Technology

“Do not trust the GPS”: Google Maps places rural town 85km north of its actual location

According to the mayors of a handful of rural Aussie towns, this isn’t the first time the popular travel app has caused problems for them.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

“We call it the triple win”: Global Work & Travel launches new affiliate program

Have you been searching for ways to earn some much-needed moolah ever since JobKeeper ended? Here’s one that doesn’t involve busking on the street or spinning signs.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

CLIA to welcome 18 new ships with virtual showcase

The association is bringing you all the latest vessel news from the maritime world with this exclusive showcase.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

GM appointed to lead Best Western’s newest Aussie hotel

Australia’s newest luxe boutique hotel has named its GM who, according to the accompanying press photo, has a strong beard game.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

Savenio restructures commission model

There’s been plenty of tszujing happening over at Savenio lately. However, that’s not to suggest the “Fab Five” paid the agency network a visit.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Qantas still committed to October restart for international flights, says Joyce

Qantas’ CEO doesn’t plan on letting a few vaccine “speedbumps” get in the way of the flying kangaroo going international in October.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Florida Governor sues CDC and Biden administration, demanding resumption of cruising

The lawsuit claims the US government is “singling out” the cruise industry and costing the state billions.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Man blows almost $20,000 after refusing temperature check at Disney World

Today, in what NOT to do at Disney World, we bring you reports of a man who blew almost $20,000 after getting kicked out for refusing a temperature check.

Share

CommentComments

Road & Rail

Rail Europe launches fresh e-learning program for agents

Are you looking to get your rail bookings back on track? Go full steam ahead with this new online training tool.

Share

CommentComments