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Air NZ claws back $3.2m in legal fees from Australian class suit settlement

Air New Zealand [NZX: AIR] has been awarded $3.2 million towards its legal costs by the Federal Court in Australia as part of a A$38 million settlement of a class suit by other airlines.

The Auckland-based airline isn't contributing to the settlement of the suit brought by Maurice Blackburn in 2007 against Air NZ, Qantas, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, British Airways and Lufthansa Cargo related to alleged price fixing on international freight services starting in 2000, and had previously lodged a claim of recovery for its legal costs.

"Air New Zealand has consistently denied any such conduct and was one of two airlines to defend related proceedings brought by the ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission)," it said in a statement. "A decision is awaited in respect of those proceedings."

Last year Air NZ agreed to pay $7.5 million to as part of a settlement with New Zealand's Commerce Commission, on top of the $10 million it had already spent defending the claim, wrapping up the local action over the global cartel.

The alleged price-fixing has been the subject of antitrust process worldwide, with big settlements from multi-national airlines in Europe and the US. Some of the alleged agreements appear to have been in place since 2001.

The New Zealand airline is still defending a class action in the US, which is its last remaining litigation relating to the air cargo cartel.

Shares of Air NZ fell 0.2 percent to $2.21.

(BusinessDesk)