Friday, January 14, 2011

Cartel Court Cases Cause Continuing Carnage For Cargo Carriers

More Woes For Freight Airlines
Shipping News Feature

US - AUSTRALIA - After the enormous fines imposed by the European Commission in November the penalties for anti trust activity by the worlds air freight carriers just keep piling up. Now it’s once again the turn of the US Courts to punish those airlines which have indulged in a price fixing cartel and the fines are as tough as expected.

This week it’s Australian giant Qantas who announced today they had agreed a negotiated fine of US$26.5 million after a lawsuit brought by aggrieved American customers. The agreement is subject to Court approval and the statement was issued shortly after the group revealed plans to join American Airlines in a new passenger service to Dallas.

The fine covers an anti trust fraud which Qantas, and several other airlines, undertook between 2000 and 2006. Seven other carriers have already been penalised to the tune of almost a quarter of a billion dollars. Despite now having settled in several countries however this is still not the end of it for Qantas who face further Court action on home turf where a class action against cargo carriers lingers for around $200 million.

The writing was on the wall for Qantas and the rest when they imposed illegal surcharges after the 9/11 attacks and the invasion of Iraq and in August 2007 in a company statement pointing out a record profit, Qantas announced that following settlements reached by British Airways and Korean Airlines with the US Department of Justice regarding freight and passenger surcharge investigations, Qantas had provided A$47 million for a potential settlement and that the airline was continuing to cooperate with regulators in other countries concerning similar investigations expected to last for several years. The following year the company recorded even higher profits with a provision for settlements relating to freight cartel activities of A$64 million.

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