Tribunal orders RM10m fines returned to AirAsia, MAS

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KUALA LUMPUR: The Competition Appeal Tribunal has set aside RM10 million fines imposed by the Malaysia Competition Commission (MyCC) on two Malaysian carriers, AirAsia and MAS, for allegedly breaching market sharing prohibition under the Competition Act 2010.

High Court judge Justice Hasnah Hashim, who chaired the five member tribunal panel, allowed both airlines’ appeal on the RM10 million fines by MyCC. “In our unanimous view, we found there was no infringement of Section 4(2) of the Competition Act,” said Justice Hasnah.

Other members of the tribunal panel included former Chief Judge of Malaya Haidar Mohamed Noor, Sulaiman Mahbob, Lin See-Yan and Wan Liza Md Amin.

The panel also ordered the fines paid to be refunded to the two airlines.

No order for costs were made.

AirAsia’s group head of legal department Amir Faezal Zakaria said the budget carrier was happy that they have been vindicated.

“The Tribunal made the right decision,” he said.

N. Nahendran, acting for MyCC, said he will take instructions from the Commission on whether to file a judicial review against the Tribunal’s decision.

On 11 April 2014, MyCC found both MAS and AirAsia in breach of the market-sharing prohibition under Section 4(2)(b) of the Competition Act by entering into an agreement on sharing markets in the air transport services sector within Malaysia.

MyCC has the power to fine both airlines 10 per cent of their global revenue for infringing the Act, but levied a far lesser penalty because the airlines were “co-operative” during the investigation.

The RM10 million fines by MyCC were based on flights mounted by both AirAsia and MAS in the four months, January 1 and 30 April 2012, on the Kuala Lumpur-Kota Kinabalu, Kuala Lumpur-Kuching, Kuala Lumpur-Sandakan and Kuala Lumpur-Sibu routes.