Japan Airlines has been ordered by the High Court in New Zealand to hand over a $2.3 million penalty for its involvement in a price fixing cartel with a number of other international carriers. The airline has admitted that it fixed security and fuel prices on cargo being flown into New Zealand from the United States, Europe and Asia. It also admitted that it was complicit in fixing prices on cargo being transported from the country to destinations in Asia.
Japan Airlines joins British Airways, Qantas and Cargolux International Airlines who have already admitted being involved and been fined. The fine imposed by the Auckland court was agreed to as part of a pre-trial settlement. Because Japan Airlines has been cooperative in the ongoing investigation it has been granted a 35 per cent discount on the penalty. The airline has also agreed to pay any costs which may have been incurred.
The Commerce Commission filed proceedings against a total of 13 airlines in 2008 for breach of the Commerce Act. The commission said that agreements on security and fuel surcharges had been going on between certain carriers for six years.
The other airlines accused of being involved in cartel activity include Cathay Pacific Airways, Air New Zealand, Korean Air Lines, Emirates, Singapore Airlines, Singapore Airlines Cargo, Malaysian Airlines System and Thai Airways International.
The case is due to resume in Auckland’s High Court in March 2013. A case against United Airlines was dropped last year as was a case against PT Garuda Indonesia.