Flight Centre ordered to pay USD9.7m in penalties over price fixing arrangements

    Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) reported (04-Apr-2018) the Full Federal Court of Australia ordered Flight Centre to pay penalties totalling AUD12.5 million (USD9.7 million) for attempting to induce three international airlines to enter into price fixing arrangements between 2005 and 2009. Details of the case and penalty include:

    • Flight Centre sought to have each airline agree not to offer airfares on its own website that were less than those offered by Flight Centre;
    • The matter was remitted to the Full Federal Court for determination of penalty, following the ACCC’s appeal to the High Court of Australia in Dec-2016;
    • The penalty is an increase from the original AUD11 million (USD8.5 million) imposed on Flight Centre in Mar-2014. Both the ACCC and Flight Centre appealed from these penalty orders;
    • ACCC chairman Rod Sims said Flight Centre is Australia‘s largest travel agency, with AUD2.6 billion (USD2 billion) in revenue p/a, and the ACCC will “continue to argue for stronger penalties which we consider better reflect the size of the company, as well as the economic impact and seriousness of the conduct”. [more – original PR]