ICCC clarifies code-sharing agreement


VIRGIN Australia did not submit any comment when consultation into code-sharing arrangement between Air Niugini and Qantas was carried out, according to Independent Consumer and Competition Commission.
Commissioner and chief executive officer Paulus Ain made the statement when responding to queries by The National regarding a submission dated September 30 and published on the Australia’s International Air Services Commission website on October 4. Virgin Australia had urged IASC to reject proposed reciprocal code-share agreement between Qantas and Air Niugini, stating that the deal would “erode competition” on services between Australia and PNG.
Virgin Australia argued that the added capacity was not in the public interest, noting that both passenger and cargo loads on flights between the two countries have declined over the past few years.
Currently, Qantas and Air Niugini carry 80 per cent of all passengers between the two markets, with Virgin Australia accounting for the remaining 20 per cent.
But Ain said: “I advise that the assessments of the code-share  deals between Qantas and Air Niugini for the Port Moresby/Brisbane route and Port Moresby/Cairns route, were carried out by the ICCC through its authorisation application process.
Authorisation is a process whereby the ICCC grants approval to businesses to engage in anticompetitive conduct only if the public benefits resulting from the proposed anticompetitive conduct would outweigh any adverse competition effects and other public detriments.
“As part of the authorisation process for the code-shares between Air Niugini and Qantas, the ICCC is required to conduct its own internal assessment and undertake public consultation with all relevant stakeholders, including Virgin Australia, before it releases its determinations.”

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