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SAA ordered to pay Comair over R1bn for anti-competitive behavior

Comair initiated the case relating to travel agent incentive schemes in favour of SAA.

FILE: A South African airways flight takes off as another one is parked in a bay on the tarmac at the Johannesburg OR Tambo International airport in Johannesburg, South Africa. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - The High Court in Johannesburg has ordered South African Airways (SAA) to pay Comair over R1 billion for anti-competitive behavior by the national carrier.

The judgment comes after a 14-year legal battle between the two airlines.

Comair initiated the case relating to travel agent incentive schemes in favour of SAA.

Comair is the second airline to succeed in a claim against the national carrier concerning anti-competitive conduct.

Last year, the court ruled in favour of Nationwide Airlines, awarding it over R100 million.

SAA was found guilty of implementing an incentive scheme for travel agents, which kept the agents loyal to the state-owned airline to the exclusion of its competitors and in violation of the Competition Act.

The national carrier had agreements with travel agents since 2001 where it paid them to divert customers to SAA rather than other airlines.

The court has now ordered SAA to pay Comair R554 million plus interest at 15.5% for their conduct.

Comair says the case has been long and complex, adding that they are studying the judgment.

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)