Singapore Airlines denies cartel charges

AUSTRALIA’S Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has turned its sights on Singapore Airlines Cargo (SIA Cargo) for its part in the fuel surcharge cartel. The ACCC has already prosecuted British Airways and Qantas for A$25 million ($17.1 million).

However, where Qantas cooperated with the investigation, SA is challenging the allegations.

“SIA Cargo will defend allegations by the [ACCC] that it, and several other airlines, have engaged in cartel conduct,” a spokesman said. “SIA Cargo is committed to competing successfully and fairly, within the requirements of the relevant competition law in Australia. With the matter now before the court, it would be inappropriate for SIA Cargo to comment in any more detail at this stage,” the spokesman said.

The ACCC says that there is evidence to prove that SIA Cargo charged Australian meat exporters higher rates than others from 2001 to 2005 to capitalise on the growing number of US troops in Iraq.

It alleges that SoonLeng Lim, a Singapore Airlines executive, wrote an internal email saying “demand for meat in ME [the Middle East] has picked up due to the build-up of US troops. Only SQ [Singapore], MH [Malaysia Airlines] and EK [Emirates] are serious players. [I’ve] told MH that we will up 20 cents if they are prepared to do likewise. He is confident EK will follow.”

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