Garuda Indonesia cleared of airfreight cartel charges
The New Zealand Commerce Commission has dropped all charges against Garuda Indonesia in its connection with the December 2008 price-fixing scandal. Twelve other airlines continue to fight accusations of inflicting fuel surcharges on airfreight shipped in and out of New Zealand.
Along with Garuda Indonesia, six Air New Zealand executives were cleared of these charges. The New Zealand Commerce Commission originally accused eight airline executives for their connection to the airfreight cartel in addition to the individual airlines.
Commission General Counsel of Enforcement Mary-Anne Borrowdale believes that acquitting Garuda Indonesia will help her organization narrow their focus before the trial begins on May 11. “Discontinuing against these parties is part of the Commission’s overall strategy to streamline and focus the case on those airlines with large turnover in New Zealand markets,” she said in a statement.
Air New Zealand, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Japan Airlines, Korean Air Lines, Malaysian Airlines, Singapore Airlines Cargo and Singapore Airlines, and Thai Airways all face prosecution from the Commission.
The airfreight cartel allegedly transpired for more than seven years.
Earlier this month, British Airways (BA) and Cargolux International Airlines faced penalties from the High Court of New Zealand in connection with this case. BA paid $1.6 million in fines, and Cargolux was forced to pay $6 million. These rulings have no bearings on the rest of the case.
The first section of the trial concerns whether the Commission has jurisdiction over airfreight inbound to New Zealand. The second part of the trial, beginning in July 2012, will concern whether price-fixing actually took place.