by Sally Peters March 12th, 2012
A number of emails have come to light which show that airlines were being pressured by executives at Flight Centre not to advertise cheap deals because they were undercutting the prices being offered by the operator. In one email, Graham Turner, Flight Centre’s managing director asks Singapore Airlines to agree not to undercut his company on the web.
Flight Centre is being accused by the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission of trying to fix prices with Singapore Airlines, Emirates and Malaysia Airlines at times between 2005 and 2009.
In 2009 Mr Turner sent emails to Subhas Menon, who is Singapore Airlines’ Australian manager in which he suggests meeting up to put together a deal which would be mutually beneficial to both parties or making the decision to each go their separate ways. He added that Flight Centre needed a guaranteed margin as well as an agreement from the airline that it would not undercut its prices on the internet.
Flight Centre is continuing to deny the claims and says that the competition regulator is misinterpreting legitimate requests by the company to gain access to the carrier’s fares on the net to hand on to its own customers.
Darren Burgess, a Flight Centre manager, has also been accused of attempting to price fix. A number of emails were sent to Singapore Airlines complaining about not being able to match its prices on the net.