Airlines settle cartel charges with NZ

NEW Zealand’s anti-cartel regulator, the Commerce Commission, has reached settlements with several airlines over allegations of cargo price fixing.

British Airways, Cargolux and Qantas all negotiated settlements, by paying significant but reduced fines. Qantas has announced that its payment was NZ$6.5 million (US$4.7 million), a 50 per cent discount.

The commission is still pursuing court action against 10 other airlines and expects to begin its case against them in July next year. Those airlines are: Air New Zealand, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Japan Airlines, Korean Air Lines, Malaysian Airlines System, Garuda Indonesia, Singapore Airlines, Singapore Airlines Cargo and Thai Airways International.

It has dropped its case against United Airlines.

“We continue to focus our case and direct our efforts towards those airlines with large turnover in New Zealand markets,” said the Commission’s general counsel of enforcement, Mary-Anne Borrowdale.

“The commission is preparing to test whether it can pursue price-fixing conduct that occurs overseas,” she added ominously.

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