/ 27 February 2009

SAA to face Competition Tribunal again

South African Airways (SAA) will have to face the Competition Tribunal again next week.

The tribunal said on Friday that the application by Comair against SAA will be heard from March 2 to 20.

The issue involves a complaint by Comair that SAA had illegally persuaded travel agents to put business its way.

A settlement was reached at the tribunal on December 4 2006, and SAA was fined R15-million.

However, SAA did not admit liability.

To pursue a civil claim for damages in the high court, Comair has to obtain an order from the tribunal that SAA’s conduct was a prohibited practice in terms of the Competition Act and this is the basis for next week’s application.

Comair has also asked the tribunal to declare void certain agreements concluded by SAA with travel agents.

Despite the fact that Nationwide Airlines had ceased it operations, the liquidators have decided that it should continue its participation in the application.

Nationwide’s complaint also involved SAA’s incentive agreements with travel agents.

SAA has contended that both the Comair and Nationwide complaints should be dismissed on the basis that the incentive schemes between SAA and travel agencies have already been found to constitute a prohibited practice in terms of the Competition Act. — Sapa