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Virgin Blue Commences Legal Proceedings Against Sydney Airport

26/08/2002

Virgin Blue has commenced proceedings in the Commercial Division of the New South Wales Supreme Court against Sydney Airport Corporation Limited (SACL).


Virgin Blue is asking the Court to uphold the agreement the company reached last April with SACL for access and long term use of gates at the former Ansett terminal.


The documents lodged in court today detail around 150 points of agreement between Virgin Blue and SACL.


In its action, Virgin Blue alleges that SACL entered into a legally binding agreement during meetings in April with senior SACL executives.


Virgin Blue also alleges that, as a result of SACL assuring Virgin Blue that there was a legally binding agreement, neither Virgin Blue nor Patrick Corporation bid to acquire the Ansett Terminal from the Ansett administrators.


Virgin Blue Chief Executive, Brett Godfrey said, “Virgin Blue and Patrick made a series of significant commercial decisions as a result of the agreement with SACL and we will be asking the court to uphold and enforce the arrangements.


We are confident we have a very strong case and, given the importance of this matter, we will be seeking an urgent hearing, ”Brett Godfrey said.


Virgin Blue is also considering taking action under national competition laws to gain fair access to Sydney Airport.


Among the options being considered is to have terminal access and other services at Sydney Airport declared under Part IIIA of the Trade Practices Act. This section of the Act provides a right of access to monopoly services that are nationally significant and important to the promotion of competition.


Declaration of Sydney Airport under the Trade Practices Act would give the ACCC the power to arbitrate in disputes over access, price and other terms of access for airport users.


Brett Godfrey added, “We believe it may be necessary to have Sydney Airport brought back under regulation by the ACCC to stop the exorbitant price hikes which are being demanded by SACL.”