MAS latest target for price-fixing charges

AUSTRALIA has charged Malaysia Airlines (MAS) with price-fixing. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), which served the statement of claims, alleges that MAS and its subsidiary MASkargo, between 2001 and 2006, conspired with other international carriers to set fuel and security surcharges on airfreight in Indonesia and Hong Kong.

“Malaysian Airline System Berhad is the 13th airline to be the subject of ACCC proceedings for alleged price-fixing in the air cargo industry,” the commission said in a statement.

“A number of anti-trust authorities around the world, including the ACCC, have been investigating air cargo pricing across the whole industry,” said MAS managing director and chief executive officer, Tengku Azmil Zahruddin. “It is premature to assess any impact on MAS as this is not a final determination. MAS will review the documents, conduct a thorough investigation and obtain legal advice.”

The ACCC has already accused several other carriers of fuel surcharge price-fixing. It has already managed to win fines of US$26 million from Qantas, $5 million from British Airways and a total of $21 million from Air France and KLM, Martinair and Cargolux. It is currently in the middle of cases against Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Garuda Indonesia, Korean Air Lines, Singapore Airlines Cargo and Thai Airways.

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