Virgin Blue today called on Sydney Airport to end the dispute over the Ansett terminal following confirmation by former Chairman of Sydney Airports Corporation Limited (SACL), David Mortimer, that an agreement was reached between the parties last April.
Mr Mortimer has confirmed that an agreement on terms was reached with Brett Godfrey and Chris Corrigan on April 18th to allow Virgin Blue access to the former Ansett terminal.
Mr Godfrey and Mr Corrigan said:
“Today’s news further demonstrates that Sydney Airport is both legally and morally bound by this agreement.
We have always said that we have a strong legal case supported by extensive case law. While we are preparing legal action, our preference remains for a commercial settlement rather than a drawn out court battle.
We now have a situation where three of the four people in the room on the 18th of April have publicly stated that an agreement was reached. We firmly believe that SACL and Macquarie should simply honour the agreement and put an end to this absurd situation.
Neither Virgin Blue nor Patrick bid for the former Ansett terminal because a deal was done- it’s as simple as that. Lawyers for the Ansett administrator have also confirmed that we withdrew from bidding because both Virgin and Patrick believed we had an agreement with SACL.
Apart from withdrawing from the terminal bid, Virgin Blue went ahead and ordered additional aircraft on the basis of the agreement. We will have no choice but to hold SACL and Macquarie responsible for the costs of these significant commercial decisions unless they honour their agreement.
We do not accept that issues now being raised by SACL allow them to walk away from their April commitment.
The imposition of the former Ansett IT system, departure control, gate allocation and baggage systems were never key terms and Virgin Blue already had systems in place in the common user environment of Sydney Airport’s Domestic Express Terminal that it could use under the agreed deal. These issues were not deemed critical by SACL until a number of weeks later as the bidders for the airport were drawing up their final offers.
It’s time for SACL and Macquarie to accept that they are morally and legally bound and to act in everybody’s interests to reach a commercial settlement.” Mr Godfrey and Mr Corrigan concluded.