Comair sets the record straight on Lanseria Competition case

Johannesburg, 4 August 2010: In reaction to Monday’s announcement by the Competition Tribunal that it will hear 1Time’s case in respect of Lanseria airport rights, Comair Limited, operator of British Airways in South Africa and kulula.com, clarified that the announcement pertains only to the fact that the complaint can be amended, and is in no way a final ruling on the case.

Gidon Novick, joint CEO of Comair said that the statement on 2 August from the Competitions Tribunal does not in any way deal with the merits of the case but rather is an amendment to the basis of the complaint.

“1time previously lodged a complaint with the Competitions Commission who investigated the case for over a year and then decided not to refer the case to the Tribunal because they didn’t believe there was a breach of any competition laws.

“In the latest amended complaint, 1Time is now seeking the enforcement of penalties against kulula for anti-competitive behaviour for its supposed exclusive agreement with Lanseria airport. In fact, kulula does not have exclusivity at Lanseria – there was only exclusivity for the first year of the agreement in 2006. Since then, kulula has had a right of first refusal on new routes but has to date received no notification to exercise these rights. The exclusivity and first right of refusal were negotiated by kulula after it agreed to invest in a Lanseria operation and take the business risk after two other airlines had previously failed.”

Novick added, “We have always acted within the law and travellers have benefited greatly from our arrangement with Lanseria. kulula currently carries over a million travellers in and out of Lanseria annually and these travellers benefit not only from the simplicity and convenience of the airport, but also from lower prices. The airport charges at Lanseria are significantly lower than at OR Tambo International (ORT) (an ACSA airport) and this cost saving is passed onto travellers.  In addition, kulula flight prices out of Lanseria are generally lower than 1time prices out of ORT airport.” He concluded, “kulula will push to get the complaint heard as soon as possible and will request a recovery of costs from the complainant as we are confident that no breach of competition law has taken place.”

ENDS


For further information, please contact:

Comair Ltd

Heidi Brauer (Executive Manager: Group Marketing)
Tel: 011 921 5877
Cell: 082 557 8376
Email: heidi.brauer@comair.co.za

Atmosphere Communications

Pheliswa Mayekiso (Account Manager)  
Tel: 021 461 2117
Cell: 084 486 0502
Email: pheliswa@atmosphere.co.za