NZCC drops cases against another airline and six execs

The New Zealand Commerce Commission has filed discontinuances against PT Garuda Indonesia and six Air New Zealand executives in the lead up to the first hearing in its air cargo cartel case hearing next month.

According to Commission General Counsel of Enforcement, Mary-Anne Borrowdale, the move is part of the Commission’s overall strategy to streamline and focus the case on those airlines with large turnover in New Zealand markets.

The Commission’s proceedings were filed in December 2008 against thirteen international airlines, alleging that the airlines colluded to raise the price of freighting cargo by imposing fuel surcharges on cargo shipments into and out of New Zealand. The conduct is alleged to have occurred over a period of more than seven years.

Last month the Commission reached settlements with Cargolux, British Airways and Qantas, with the three airlines admitting to entering into price-fixing arrangements and agreeing to the imposition of penalties.

On April 5th, the High Court ordered Cargolux to pay $6 million in penalties and $25,000 in costs. BA will pay $1.6 million in penalties and $100,000 in costs. The Court has yet to rule on the recommended penalty of $6.5 million for Qantas.

At the same time, the Commission dropped the case against United Airlines.

The Commission’s case alleging that airlines colluded to raise the price of freighting cargo continues against Air New Zealand, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Japan Airlines, Korean Air Lines, Malaysian Airlines, Singapore Airlines Cargo and Singapore Airlines, and Thai Airways.

The first stage of the cartel case starts on May 11th in the Auckland High Court, and concerns whether air cargo services inbound to New Zealand are part of a ‘market in New Zealand‘ such that the Commission can take action against them. The remainder of the case is scheduled to begin in July 2012 and will deal with the Commission’s allegations of price-fixing.

Alleged air cargo cartel activity in other jurisdictions:

  • Australia – Fifteen airlines were implicated in the cartel; eight have been ordered to pay penalties totalling A$46.5 million, the other eight are awaiting hearing.
  • US – Nineteen airlines have been fined a total of US$1.6 billion. Four executives have been fined and imprisoned (6-8 month terms) and six others have been charged and are awaiting trial.
  • EU – The European Commission imposed penalties against eleven airlines totalling €800 million.
  • Canada – Six airlines entered guilty pleas and were fined a total of C$17 million.
  • South Korea – Nineteen airlines have been fined KRW120 billion.

Quelle: eyefortransport

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