Jet fuel firm's appeal against fine rejected

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A court in Hanoi on Wednesday rejected an appeal by fuel supplier Vietnam Air Petrol against a decision ordering it to pay a VND3.4-billion fine for cutting off supplies to a local carrier.

The Hanoi People's Court said the penalty handed down by the Vietnam Competition Council last year was appropriate.

The Vietnam Competition Council said at a public hearing in April 2009 that the air fuel company, better known as Vinapco, had abused its monopoly position and flouted the Law of Competition when cutting off supplies to Jetstar Pacific Airlines without justification on April 1, 2008.

The supply cut happened as the two sides were arguing over a price increase. It caused a delay that grounded 30 flights with some 5,000 passengers. The government then ordered Vinapco to resume supply.

Despite the resumption, Jetstar Pacific decided to bring the case to the Vietnam Competition Council, which led to the verdict against Vinapco.

Vinapco, an affiliate of state-owned Vietnam Airlines, then protested the ruling, saying it was not fair.

In related news, the fuel supplier was reported in local media to have filed a lawsuit against financially-troubled Indochina Airlines for not paying a debt of VND25 billion.

Vinapco said the authorities had ordered it to maintain supply to Indochina depite late payment, which caused the debt to pile up, local media reported Friday, citing a senior manager of the company.

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