ACCC institutes proceedings against Thai Airways for alleged price fixing of air freight

28 October 2009

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission today instituted proceedings in the Federal Court against Thai Airways International Public Company Limited.

Thai Airways International Public Company Limited is the eleventh airline to be the subject of ACCC proceedings for alleged price fixing in the air cargo industry.

The ACCC alleges that between 2001 and 2006, Thai Airways International Public Company Limited entered into arrangements or understandings with other international air cargo carriers in specific countries that had the purpose or effect of fixing the price of fuel surcharges and security surcharges that were applied to air cargo carried by Thai Airways International Public Company Limited and other airlines.  The ACCC alleges that the arrangements or understandings were reached in Singapore, Indonesia and Hong Kong – plus Thailand in the case of a security surcharge called a crisis surcharge – for surcharges applied to cargo originating in those countries.

The ACCC is seeking declarations, injunctive relief, pecuniary penalties, and costs.

A directions hearing has been set down for 9:30 a.m. on November 26 before Justice Jacobson in the Federal Court, Sydney.

As a result of the ACCC's continued investigation into alleged fuel surcharge price fixing in the industry, to date the court has ordered a total of $41 million in penalties against respondent airlines:

  • on December 11 2008, the court ordered Qantas Airways Limited and British Airways PLC to pay penalties of $20 million and $5 million respectively, as jointly submitted by the parties
  • on February 16 2009 the court ordered Société Air France, Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij NV, Martinair Holland NV and Cargolux International Airlines SA to pay penalties of $3 million, $3 million, $5 million and $5 million respectively, as jointly submitted by the ACCC and each of the parties.

In addition, the ACCC instituted proceedings in the Federal Court:

  • on December 23 2008 against Singapore Airlines Cargo Pte Ltd
  • on April 30 2009 against Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd
  • on August 18 2009 against Emirates
  • on September 2 2009 against PT Garuda Indonesia Ltd.

Proceedings against Singapore Airlines Cargo Pte Ltd, Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd, Emirates, and PT Garuda Indonesia Ltd continue.

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

Release number: 
NR 267/09
ACCC Infocentre: 

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