Flight Centre fined $AUD 11 million


The Australian Federal Court has ordered Flight Centre to pay AUD $11m in fines for persuading three airlines to enter price fixing arrangements within 45 days.

In handing down his judgement, Justice John Logan said that Flight Centre must not work with any airline to create price fixing arrangements.

Justice Logan also judged that Flight Centre had threatened to withdraw from selling Singapore Airlines tickets unless the carrier paid a distribution margin, which he described as deliberately uncompetitive.

The decision follows the Federal Court’s decision last December to up hold the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) case that Flight Centre had induced Singapore Airlines, Emirates and Malaysia Airlines to stop undercutting flight offers sold by the agency.

The ACCC has previously said that Flight Centre broke the law six times between 2005 and 2009.

The company has also been found to have flouted the Trade Practices Act five times.

Flight Centre managing director Graham Turner said that the decision will not change the strategic direction of the company.

“Last year's test case outcome was disappointing, but has not created a need for fundamental changes within our business, as any such changes that would have been required as a result of the judgment were made several years ago," Mr Turner said.

Flight Centre will appeal the judgement and may also appeal the fines. 

Source = ETB News: Tom Neale
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