Aviation: South African Airways appeals Comair $85mn anti-competition ruling
South African Airways (SA, Johannesburg O.R. Tambo) has filed an appeal against a South Gauteng High Court ruling which found the carrier guilty of undertaking anticompetitive practices to the detriment of rival operators.
A ruling issued last month awarded Comair (South Africa) (MN, Johannesburg O.R. Tambo) over ZAR1.1 billion (USD84.8 million) in damages plus interest.
The case related to SAA’s system of “override incentive schemes” wherein between June 2001 and March 2005, travel agents were paid “considerable sums of money” to book passengers on SAA rather than on rival airlines such as Comair and the defunct Nationwide. This, the court agreed, led to substantial foreclosure of the rivals in the market for scheduled domestic air travel, causing Comair and Nationwide Airlines (CE, Johannesburg O.R. Tambo) to suffer loss of profit and consumers to be harmed.
According to South Africa’s Travel Industry Review, SAA’s objection to the ruling was filed last week just ahead of the deadline. Comair has acknowledged the objection and has said it is now considering its options.
Nationwide was awarded ZAR104.6 million (USD8.07 million) in damages plus interest in August last year for similar claims against SAA spanning the period June 2001 to March 2005.