ACCC wins against the airlines on market definition
In 2009 and 2010, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) took action against a number of international airlines – claiming that they had colluded on the fuel surcharges they had imposed on international air freight. Most of these airlines settled with the ACCC and agreed penalties that were put to the courts.
Air NZ and Garuda did not settle. They claimed that Australian courts had no jurisdiction on freight that came into Australia because the market in which the freight activity took place was not a market in Australia. These airlines succeeded with this argument at the trial but lost at the Full Federal Court. Today the High Court unanimously dismissed the appeals by the airlines and made some useful observations about the law concerning markets in Australia. The court held that all aspects of the market, including the presence of customers in Australia, need to be considered in deciding whether a market is ‘in Australia’.
Frontier Economics (Asia-Pacific) advised lawyers for the ACCC and the ACCC called Philip Williams to give evidence at the trial.