The ACCC has granted authorisation for Virgin Australia to enter into codeshare pricing arrangements with its international airline partners for 5 years.
Virgin Australia’s international airline partners include United Airlines, Qatar Airways and other airlines that operate long-haul international routes.
Under the arrangements, Virgin Australia’s international airline partners will set the fares for long-haul international flights that Virgin Australia may market and resell to consumers.
“More choice and greater convenience is likely to be the result for consumers, particularly those planning international trips that include connecting flights operated by Virgin Australia,” ACCC Deputy Chair Mick Keogh said.
“There will be no competitive overlap between Virgin Australia and its international partners on any route under these proposed arrangements, and other airlines in the market will continue to compete with Virgin Australia and its partners on those particular long-haul international routes.”
“Authorising these arrangements will likely promote competition in long-haul international services, by allowing Virgin Australia to re-establish its international operation in the longer term,” Mr Keogh said.
A copy of the ACCC’s determination is available on the ACCC’s public register at Virgin Australia Airlines Pty Ltd.
Virgin Australia commenced operations in Australia in 2000. It currently operates a network of domestic flight services and short-haul international flight services including to Nadi, Fiji and to Bali, Indonesia.
Virgin Australia does not currently operate any long-haul international services and is unlikely to do so in the short to medium term, as it does not have access to the necessary widebody aircraft.
On 12 May 2022, the ACCC granted interim authorisation to allow Virgin Australia to enter into a proposed codeshare pricing arrangement with United Airlines.
On 8 July 2022, the ACCC issued a draft determination proposing to grant authorisation for 5 years for Virgin Australia to make and give effect to codeshare agreements with Partner Carriers.
The ACCC also revoked the previous interim authorisation (dated 12 May 2022) and granted a new interim authorisation to enable Virgin Australia to engage in the proposed conduct with Qatar Airways and Singapore Airlines in addition to United Airlines (which was allowed under the previous interim authorisation).
The routes operated by potential partner international airlines identified by Virgin Australia to date include long-haul international routes between Australia and the USA, Europe, various parts of Asia, the Middle East and Africa.
Notes to editors
ACCC authorisation provides statutory protection from court action for conduct that might otherwise raise concerns under the competition provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act (CCA).
Broadly, the ACCC may grant an authorisation when it is satisfied that the public benefit from the conduct would be likely to outweigh any public detriment.
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