Korean in cargo court cross-fire

ASIA players Singapore International Airlines and Cathay Pacific have been granted permission by the Australian Federal Court to add Korean Airlines as a cross-respondent in cargo price-fixing allegations.

Justice Richard Tracey said the airlines wanted to add Korean because earlier in September its counsel told the court it had struck an in-principle agreement with the competition watchdog.

The AU$200 million (US$207 million) claim was filed by lawyer Maurice Blackburn in 2007 but does not yet have a trial date.

So far Australia has issued AU$46.5 million ($48.1 million) in fines to the cartel also involving Air New Zealand, British Airways, Lufthansa and Qantas.

In April the Federal Court issued an AU$5.5 million (US$5.7 million) fine against Japan Airlines International, finding it guilty of agreeing fuel surcharges with other international airlines between December 2003 and October 2005 and insurance and security surcharges between January 2003 and October 2006 from Singapore to destinations throughout the world, including Australia.

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