On April 11 2011 the Competition Appeal Court dismissed the appeal brought by South African Airways (SAA) against the decision of the Competition Tribunal in favour of Nationwide Airlines and Comair Ltd.

The matter was initiated in October 2000 when Nationwide lodged a complaint with the Competition Commission regarding conduct which it alleged amounted to abuse of dominance by SAA. The conduct under review was SAA's implementation of incentive schemes to travel agents which, according to Nationwide and Comair, induced travel agents to prefer selling SAA tickets over those of its competitors.

Nationwide and Comair also argued that travel agents were able to influence customers' preferences in order to achieve the incentive targets set by SAA. The effects of the incentive schemes were to entrench SAA's position of dominance and to exclude its competitors from expanding in the market.

SAA's appeal was dismissed and costs were awarded in favour of Nationwide and Comair.

For further information on this topic please contact Martin Versfeld at Webber Wentzel by telephone (+27 11 530 5000), fax (+27 11 530 5111) or email ([email protected]).