Australia Fines Air New Zealand AU$15 Million
Air New Zealand has been ordered to pay AUD$15 million (USD$11 million) plus costs after the Australian Federal Court found it had fixed air freight charges with other airlines.
The court found that the New Zealand airline agreed to fix fuel and insurance surcharges on air freight services from Hong Kong, and insurance and security charges from Singapore between 2002 and 2007.
The legal action was brought by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC).
The court ordered Air NZ to pay a pecuniary penalty of AUD$11.5 million for price fixing on Hong Kong to Australia, and AUD$3.5 million for price fixing on surcharges from Singapore to Australia.
Air New Zealand also agreed to pay AUD$2 million towards the ACCC’s legal costs.
“This decision sends a strong warning to overseas and domestic operators that the ACCC can and will continue to defend competition and the rights of Australian customers and businesses by taking action against anti-competitive conduct,” ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said.
ACCC said that since it first started its investigation into the air cargo cartel in 2006, it has imposed penalties of AUD$113.5 million against 14 airlines.
“Our efforts over the last decade and these significant penalties make clear the ACCC’s commitment to tackling cartels,” Court said.
The ACCC has so far issued fines to 13 airlines, the biggest, AUD$20 million, to Australian airline Qantas. Air New Zealand’s AUD$15 million is the second highest fine.