Compat Stays 256-cr CCI Penalty on Three Airlines
New Delhi: The Competition Appellate Tribunal (Compat) has stayed penalties totalling .₹ 256 crore imposed on Jet Airways, IndiGo and SpiceJet for allegedly colluding in setting fuel surcharges. The Competition Commission of India (CCI) had levied fines of .₹ 151 crore on Jet Airways, .₹ 63 crore on IndiGo and .₹ 42 crore on SpiceJet in November, finding them guilty of colluding to fix the fuel surcharge for cargo transportation. The matter has been sent back to the CCI on technical grounds and Compat has given the airlines one more chance to defend themselves before the competition watchdog. The CCI can pass the final order only after hearing the airlines.
“The Compat on Monday observed that the airlines weren’t given an opportunity by the Competition Commission to make their case before the final order was passed in November,” said a senior government official who was present during the hearing in the tribunal. The CCI now has to issue show-cause notices to the airlines, after which they will get a chance to defend themselves, said the official. In its order, CCI had said the conduct of the airlines undermined the country’s development and was detrimental to consumers’ interests.
In the investigation conducted by the Director General of the CCI, it was found that on several occasions, when one airline increased the fuel surcharge, the others followed simultaneously.