ACCC institutes proceedings against Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd for alleged price-fixing of air freight

30 April 2009

As a result of its continued investigation into alleged price fixing in the air cargo industry, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has instituted proceedings in the Federal Court against Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd.

The ACCC alleges that between 2000 and 2006, Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd entered into over 70 arrangements or understandings with other international air cargo carriers that had the purpose or effect of fixing the price of a fuel surcharge, a security surcharge and rates that were applied to air cargo carried by Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd and other airlines. The ACCC alleges that the arrangements or understandings were reached in countries including Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong, United Arab Emirates, India, Japan and Italy.

The ACCC is seeking declarations, injunctive relief, pecuniary penalties, and costs. A directions hearing has been set down for 28 May 2009 at 9.30 am before Justice Jacobson in the Federal Court in Sydney.

Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd is the eighth airline to be the subject of ACCC proceedings for fuel surcharge price fixing.

  • On 28 October 2008, the ACCC instituted proceedings against Qantas Airways Limited and British Airways PLC resulting in penalties of $20 million and $5 million respectively, as jointly submitted by the parties.
  • On 23 October 2008, the ACCC instituted proceedings in the Federal Court against Singapore Airlines Cargo Pte Ltd. 
  • On 16 February 2009 Justice Lindgren ordered pecuniary penalties against Société Air France and Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij NV of $6 million, Martinair Holland NV of $5 million and Cargolux International Airlines SA of $5 million, as jointly submitted by the parties. 

The total pecuniary penalties to date ordered against respondent airlines in these matters is $41 million. The proceedings against Singapore Airlines Cargo Pte Ltd continue.

The ACCC continues to investigate other airlines with the assistance of cooperating parties, and further actions are expected over the next few months.


Release number: 
NR 097/09
ACCC Infocentre: 

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