ACCC institutes proceedings against more airlines in alleged air freight cartel

10 February 2009

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission today instituted proceedings in the Federal Court, Sydney, against a further four airlines seeking penalties for alleged price fixing between early 2003 and 2006.

The alleged contraventions relate to fuel surcharges applied to international carriage of air cargo during that period.  Each of:

  • Société Air France (Air France)
  • Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij NV (KLM)
  • Martinair Holland NV (Martinair), and
  • Cargolux International Airlines S.A. (Cargolux)

have made a number of admissions and consented to the remedies sought including penalties, injunctions and costs.

Ultimately, it is a matter for the court to determine the level of penalty to be imposed upon these airlines and the making of any other orders.

The respective parties have recommended that the court impose penalties of $5 million for each of Cargolux and Martinair and $6 million combined ($3 million each) for Air France and KLM noting their common ownership during much of the alleged conduct.

A hearing has been set down for Monday 16 February before Justice Lindgren.

The latest proceedings follow earlier consent proceedings in relation to related matters against Qantas Airways Limited and British Airways PLC.  In those proceedings the Federal Court ordered penalties of $20 million and $5 million respectively, as recommended by the parties.

The ACCC also commenced contested proceedings against Singapore Airlines Cargo Pte Ltd in December last year with proceedings continuing.

The ACCC continues to investigate other airlines with further actions expected over the next few months.


Release number: 
NR 023/09
ACCC Infocentre: 

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