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‘Simply The Right Decision’ - Virgin Blue Applauds Australian Competition Tribunal Decision

09/12/2005

Virgin Blue today applauded a decision of the Australian Competition Tribunal to declare the Airside Services at Sydney Airport, ending a three year period of unfettered price increases in airport landing fees.


“It is the right decision and this is a very important case for consumers, for airlines and for many other industries,” said Brett Godfrey, Chief Executive.


“We asked for nothing more than to have fair and equitable commercial pricing negotiations with airports, with the safety net of being able to refer the matter to an independent arbitrator, should it be necessary,” he said.


“When monopoly suppliers dramatically increase the operating costs of companies, eventually those costs must be passed on to the consumer and we have pursued this outcome for over three years always believing that ever increasing fees at some airports set a worrying precedent as to just what is acceptable behaviour by monopolists.


Sydney Airport fees increased 97% prior to the sale of the airport and for Virgin Blue a further 52% in less than two years, through the changing of the charging methodology from weight based charges to per passenger charging.


The most recent report by the ACCC showed airport prices have increased by between 50 and 200% over the past three years.


The hearing before the Australian Competition Tribunal took place in October 2004.  The decision and a short summary of reasons were released by the Australian Competition Tribunal today with the full decision due to be handed down on Monday.


NB: Although we realise this is a press release Brett Godfrey would like to acknowledge the unwavering three year effort made by Virgin Blue’s Legal and Airports teams to achieve this important result in the interests of Australian air travellers.