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Qantas lodges submission against Virgin Blue/Etihad alliance

14-Sep-2010 11:08 AM

Qantas lodged a submission to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) expressing concerns regarding Virgin Blue and Etihad Airways' proposed alliance agreement, calling on the Commission to ignore Virgin Blue’s request to fast-track the process (The Australian, 14-Sep-2010). Qantas claimed passengers will be harmed if the ACCC provides the agreement with preliminary approval and later reverses the decision. Qantas expressed concerns over Virgin and Etihad’s application not mentioning pricing of fares between Australia and the UK/Europe, claiming an interim authorisation could result in more widespread price co-ordination across a wider codeshare network. The carrier also argued Virgin and Etihad have not provided enough information to merit the need for an urgent decision.

Qantas: “Qantas considers passengers will suffer considerable harm and inconvenience if tickets are booked on a new service during the interim period but final authorisation is ultimately denied. This is particularly unnecessary where a high degree of competition already exists on the Australia to UK-Europe route. Given these risks, and absent compelling reasons to effectively circumvent an established statutory process, Qantas considers it would be more appropriate to consider the proposed alliance in totality … before the applicants begin any co-operation,” Company Statement. Source: The Australian, 14-Sep-2010.