New Zealand court doles out price-fixing fines
Cargolux and British Airways have been fined a total of $NZ7.6 million by the High Court of New Zealand for their roles in a price-fixing case brought by the country's Commerce Commission. On March 18, Cargolux, BA and Qantas agreed to plead guilty to the charges. Qantas has not yet been fined, but it has been reported that it will receive a punishment of more than $NZ6 million.
“The penalties reflect discounts for both airlines, to take account of their early admissions and their cooperation with the Commission’s proceeding. BA has received a greater discount because of its commitment to further cooperation as the case progresses, but in each case, the court has acknowledged the value to this agency of receiving assistance from the parties involved,” the Commission's Mary-Anne Borrowdale said in a statement.
The Commission filed price-fixing and other charges against 13 airlines in December 2008. Cathay Pacific, Air New Zealand, Korean Air Lines, Singapore Airlines Cargo, Japan Airlines, Malaysian Airlines, PT Garuda Indonesia, Thai Airways, Emirates and Singapore Airlines are all fighting the charges. The price-fixing case is slated to start in May.
Cargolux, British Airways and Qantas had previously been fined for the same activity by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). The DOJ charged two former Cargolux executives — Ulrich Ogiermann and Robert Van de Weg — in the price-fixing conspiracy.
Cargolux, British Airways and Qantas also were fined by the European Commission, but the carriers are appealing those charges.
In December 2010, the Commerce Commission brought charges of anti-competitive conduct against two freight forwarding companies, Geologistics and EGL. The companies were fined a total of $NZ3.65 million.