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High Court turns down airlines' bid to overturn appeal undertaking

Wednesday 16th November 2011

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The High Court has turned down a bid by the eight airlines accused of fixing air cargo prices to appeal the first part of the antitrust regulator’s case, saying they must honour their pledge to wait until the second part of the trial before petitioning the Court of Appeal.  

The airlines had sought to be released from their pledge but the request was turned down by Judge Raynor Asher, according to a written decision on Nov. 3 that was published on the Justice Department’s website this week.

The airlines claimed their undertaking not to appeal the first part of the trial could be overturned as the date for the second part of the trial has been pushed out until 2013, giving the appeal process more time to proceed.

Judge Asher disagreed, saying “it would be positively unjust to grant the application” which would change an agreed concession and force the regulator to conduct the case on two fronts at the same time.

If two lots of appeals were granted, Judge Asher said the case could be dragged out by as much as three years and could finish as late as the middle of 2018.

“I am satisfied that the effect of the undertaking has been to make the divided trial process more speedy and inexpensive, in ensuring that if at least the commission was successful, there would only be one round of appeals,” the judgement said.

Air New Zealand, Japan Airlines International, Emirates, Malaysian Airlines System Berhad, Korean Airlines, Thai Airways International, Singapore Airlines & Singapore Airlines Cargo and Cathay Pacific had previously agreed to wait until judgement from the second stage of the trial before making an appeal to ensure all appeal issues were dealt with at once.


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