Emirates denies Australian price-fixing charge

AUSTRALIA has launched legal action against Emirates for alleged cargo price-fixing. Emirates has responded by vowing to fight the allegations.

“Emirates denies the allegations and will be defending the proceedings,” an Emirates spokesperson told Air Cargo News. “It does not intend to make any further comment given that the matter is before the court.”

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) claims that between 2002 and 2006, Emirates fixed cargo rates and fuel and security surcharges with rival freight carriers in breach of anti-cartel regulations.

The case will start on 11 September.

Emirates is the ninth airline the ACCC has charged with fixing fuel surcharge prices, including Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines Cargo, and only the latest in a long line of airlines that similar commissions are targeting around the world.

The ACCC also has similar proceedings ongoing against Cathay Pacific and the cargo arm of Singapore Airlines and warns other carriers are likely to face charges.

As reported last month in Air Cargo News, the ongoing legal actions are creating huge damage to the financial viability of many operations. While guilty airlines should be punished, governments seem to be targeting airlines as an easy source of non-tax revenue. This is diverting investment away from already damaged airlines, which is likely to lead to less competition and higher long-term airfreight prices.

The ACCC has already fined Qantas and British Airways US$16.4 million and $4.1 million respectively, while Air France and KLM, Martinair and Cargolux are to pay $17.2 million. Similar actions are taking place in the US, New Zealand and the EU.

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