Flight Centre dragged back into court

A long running legal battle between Flight Centre and the ACCC is heading to the High Court.

The competition watchdog's tussle with Flight Centre over price fixing is set to continue after the High Court agreed to consider another appeal.

Flight Centre in 2015 successfully appealed a 2013 Federal Court decision that it had breached the Trade Practices Act by allegedly insisting airlines could not offer prices direct to customers that were lower than those available to the travel retailer.

The High Court has now granted the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission leave to appeal that decision, which secured Flight Centre a refund of an $11 million fine.

"This case raises important issues for the application of competition laws in Australia in the future, as online offers are increasingly being made directly to consumers by both agents and their principals," ACCC chairman Rod Sims said.

The 2015 Federal Court decision in Flight Centre's favour included a finding that distribution and booking services for consumers were not in competition with direct sales by airlines.

Flight Centre managing director Graham Turner said the retailer would continue to vigorously defend its position.

"We are disappointed that the ACCC chose to continue this long running test case, following the clear and unanimous judgement in Flight Centre's favour in July last year," he said.

"Given that it is now some six years after the ACCC first requested information from us, we look forward to this matter finally being resolved in the High Court."

Source: AAP