It’s hard to find the best price for something if everyone’s agreed to sell said something at a higher than fair price. This is certainly applicable to airfares, as is the case with Flight Centre’s alleged attempts to arrange price-fixing shenanigans with a number of big airlines.
Turns out the ACCC — and the law — is having none of it.
According to an ABC article by Amy Bainbridge, the Brisbane Federal Court yesterday ruled in favour of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in its case against the popular travel agent. The article states Flight Centre had a go at organising price-fixing agreements with companies including Singapore Airlines and Emirates, going back as far as 2006.
The specifics of the attempts were revealed by a series of internal emails, the purpose of which the judgement declares were “naked on the face”.
Here’s a snippet from the ABC piece, if you’d like to decide for yourself:
“Last year, there were many instances where SQ (Singapore Airlines) either undercut or allowed us an insignificant margin,” the email said.
“These reduced margins this year have made it difficult at times for us to push the agreement from a head office perspective and recognition of this issue will help us to achieve our collective goals”.
With guilt established, Flight Centre’s penalty will be decided later this month on the 19th.