ACCC wins case against Flight Centre over unlawful attempt to fix airline ticket prices

The ACCC has won a High Court appeal in its case against Flight Centre, with the Court ruling that Flight Centre was in competition with the airlines it was selling on behalf of. Flight Centre’s efforts to persuade airlines to raise the price of tickets that airlines sold directly to customers was found to have amounted to price fixing.

There was essentially one question for the High Court to determine: Did Flight Centre and the relevant airlines compete in a market for the supply of services?

Where an airline could also sell a ticket directly to a customer, Flight Centre not only makes sales on behalf of an airline, but it sells in competition with it, making Flight Centre both agent and competitor to the airlines. Under its Agency Agreement, Flight Centre was free to determine the ticket prices, but it offered a ‘price beat’ guarantee to customers, promising to beat prices quoted on other websites, including those of the airlines.

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