Air New Zealand hit with $15m fine for price fixing

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission on Wednesday said the Federal Court had found Air NZ and at least 13 other international airlines had agreed to fix prices for cargo flights in and around Asia.

The cartel fixed the price of fuel and insurance on freight services out of Hong Kong, and insurance and security costs from Singapore to destinations including Australia.

ACCC commissioner Sarah Court said the cartel had unfairly reduced competition for cargo flights into Australia.

“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,” Ms Court said.

The consumer watchdog first started investigating the airlines in 2006, and Air NZ’s sanctions take the combined penalties against the cartel to $113.5 million, including a $20 million penalty in 2008 against Qantas.

Proceedings against Air NZ and Indonesian carrier Garuda were originally dismissed by the Federal Court in 2014, before the ACCC’s appeal was upheld in 2017.

The judgement against Garuda will be handed down next week.

The Sydney Morning Herald | June 27, 2018