ACCC blocks Qantas, Ansett’s Hazelton bids

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission(ACCC) has opposed rival bids by Qantas and Ansett for Hazelton Airlines claiming that a takeover by either airline would lessen competition in the regional and interstate air travel sectors. Both Qantas and Ansett have been locked in a bidding war for Hazelton that has seen Ansett lift its original bid of 90 cents a share to $1.35 a share. The ACCC argues that a merger with either airline would mean Qantas or Ansett acquiring a 60 per cent hold on the market making it difficult for other airlines to offer competing services. Despite the ACCC's decision, Qantas has announced that it would still like to proceed with the acquisition while Ansett says it will rethink its current position. The ACCC's decision is an important one for consumers as it means the regional air travel market will not be dominated by a single airline that would discourage competition and cheaper fares.