View Full Version : Qantas pursuit aborted

21st Nov 2003, 22:53
Sat "Weekend Australian"

Qantas pursuit aborted
By Steve Creedy
November 22, 2003

Virgin Blue last night lashed out at a decision by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to drop a misuse of market power case against Qantas, describing the backdown as a blow to consumers and competition.

The ACCC launched the Federal Court action in May last year amid allegations that Qantas had misused its market power by offering extra cheap seats between Brisbane and Adelaide in an attempt to drive Virgin off the route.

Qantas increased flights on the route from two to three and cut fares from more than $500 for a return flight to $117.70 one way - 30c below the Virgin fare.

The ACCC alleged at the time that Qantas had deliberately boosted its flights to eliminate or substantially damage Virgin Blue.

But ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel announced yesterday that it was dropping the action after legal advice and a further review of the domestic airline market.

He said the decision was made after talks with the parties, each of which agreed to bear their own costs.

"Like all section 46 (misuse of market power) cases, final resolution in the courts in this matter would have been extremely difficult, lengthy and expensive," Mr Samuel said.

"Experience in overseas jurisdictions where similar cases have been instituted shows the uncertainty and delays such litigation faces."

Mr Samuel noted that the aviation market had changed since the action began and competition had increased to the benefit of consumers.

Virgin Blue continued to fly the Brisbane-Adelaide route.

"The ACCC will continue to closely monitor the competitiveness of airlines in the domestic market," he said.

A disappointed Virgin Blue described the decision as a blow to consumers and to new entrants in the Australian market.

Virgin head of communication and strategy David Huttner said challengers entering new markets in Australia would face a grim situation without backers with deep pockets.

"The issues raised in this case were important to the Australian consumer," he said.

"Virgin Blue had been advised by the commission that it considered that it had reasonable prospects and it is disappointed that the ACCC did not let the case go to court.

"Clearly, today's decision offers no comfort to new entrants that may be subject to anti-competitive practices, be they in aviation or any consumer sector."

The decision delighted Qantas, which had vigorously protested its innocence and faced a fine of up to $10 million if convicted.

Chief executive Geoff Dixon said the decision to discontinue the case confirmed the airline's belief that it would have successfully defended the action.

"The prosecution has cost Qantas a significant amount of money and has been a major distraction to executive management involved in preparing the defence," he said.


Cactus Jack
22nd Nov 2003, 01:47
No disrespect to Virgin, but competition really only works in one direction...

Z Force
22nd Nov 2003, 10:09
I seem to recall Virgin saying that they don't mind competition. Oh well, I guess it gives them something else to whinge about.

Chris Higgins
22nd Nov 2003, 11:22
I don't think they're Virgins now, they really got screwed..

Sperm Bank
22nd Nov 2003, 12:09
So the price of a seat went from more than $500 return to less than $250 return, and they put an extra 1/3 capacity on the route. Just a normal reaction to competition hey??????????????

22nd Nov 2003, 12:25
Sucked in VB!

Glad to see the ACCC giving QF a break. What a bunch of sore loosers the D1ckheads in the suits at VB are. One decision that doesnt go thier way and they run off to appeal. They didnt mind when QF was being screwed over by the ACCC.

Ooppss, could it be the case that the ACCC are "keeping the air fair!"

Its about time our flag carrier was given a break from the English invader. :ok:

22nd Nov 2003, 20:07
Whassa matter Spermie? Don't think that DJ wouldn't do EXACTLY the same thing if the situation was reversed!! :p

23rd Nov 2003, 06:00
Jesus H Christ!

These guys at VB reackon they're not adverse to competition and when it comes their way they bring out that balding whinger Godfrey to make out they've been hard done by!!

Cactus Jack was spot on with his comment.

If you complain about there being no competition and when competition confronts you head on, then whinge like a schoolboy what does that make you look like?

In this case it looks like the ACCC keeping the air fair!!!!

Stop the bloody whingeing, get back to business and cut out the bleeding heart and 'little aussie battler' being hard done by nonsense.

24th Nov 2003, 14:59
Geez Bank Angle, bitter and twisted! Get a knock back did ya?
By the way, there are no "SUITS" at VB. A no tie policy from the ground up, including Godfrey. Better luck next time.:p