The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has launched legal action against Flight Centre over claims the travel agency attempted to fix airline ticket prices.
The ACCC says that between 2005 and 2009 Flight Centre tried to induce Singapore Airlines, Malaysian Airlines and Emirates to stop offering lower prices on their websites than the fares offered by Flight Centre, which include booking and distribution fees.
“It is alleged that the purpose and likely effect of the arrangements sought by Flight Centre was to maintain the level of Flight Centre’s commissions,” the ACCC said. “Such arrangements constitute price fixing.”
Flight Centre, Australia’s largest travel chain, has denied wrongdoing, saying the allegations focus on “legitimate discussions” aimed at ensuring the agency had access to all fares released to the market.
The case is due for a preliminary hearing at Federal Court in Brisbane on April 13. The ACCC has not accused the airlines of any improper conduct.