Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia’s appeal against RM10m fine to be heard on Dec 13

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PUTRAJAYA (April 16): The Court of Appeal has today fixed Dec 13 to hear the appeals filed by Malaysian Airlines Bhd and AirAsia Bhd against the High Court’s ruling that upheld the RM10 million fine imposed by the Malaysian Competition Commission on each of the two airlines for anti-competition practices.

Recall that the Kuala Lumpur High Court had, in December last year, reinstated the commission’s decision to impose the fine on the two airlines after allowing MyCC’s judicial review to challenge the decision by the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT), which had earlier set aside myCC’s fine on the two airlines.

At the time, High Court Judge Datuk Nordin Hassan said CAT’s decision of allowing the appeal by Malaysia Airlines and AirAsia to set aside MyCC’s fine was tainted with error of law and unreasonableness.

Following the High Court’s ruling, the two airlines filed an appeal to the appellate court. The hearing date on their appeal was fixed by the Court of Appeal’s registry today, said MyCC’s lawyer Datuk Lim Chee Wee.

Lim said the judicial review application filed by MyCC in the High Court was the first instance hearing of the cases, and that MAS and AirAsia can still appeal to the Court of Appeal and the Federal Court as a last resort.

In April 2014, MyCC ruled that MAS and AirAsia Bhd’s 2011 collaboration agreement had violated the Competition Act 2010, and fined each airline RM10 million. It found that both airlines had breached Section 4(2)(b) of the Act by entering into an agreement which saw the two airlines sharing markets in the local air transport services sector.

At that time, MyCC said it had the power to fine both airlines 10% of their global revenue for infringing the law, but had levied a far lower penalty because the airlines were cooperative during the investigation.

It added that the fine quantum arrived at was based on flights mounted by both AirAsia and MAS in the four months between Jan 1 and April 30, 2012, on routes encompassing Kuala Lumpur-Kota Kinabalu, Kuala Lumpur-Kuching, Kuala Lumpur-Sandakan and Kuala Lumpur-Sibu.

However, CAT set aside the RM10 million fine on Feb 4, 2016. MyCC then filed for judicial review to quash CAT’s decision.