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Qantas coughs up record fine

Qantas have been stung by New Zealand's highest-ever penalty for price-fixing after the High Court in Auckland ordered the airline to pay $6.5 million.

The payment came after a pre-trial settlement in the air cargo cartel case, and the Judge gave Qantas a 50 percent discount for co-operating with the Commerce Commission.

“When parties admit breaches of the Act early and co-operate with the Commission’s investigation there are significant benefits for them, and it is in the public interest, since court hearings can be a costly and drawn-out way of resolving matters,” said Mary-Anne Borrowdale, the Commission's General Counsel for Enforcement, .

The cartel case, ongoing against several other international airlines, concerns allegations of collusion of a fuel surcharge.

Qantas staff are said to be made available as witness in for the Commission in the other prosecutions.

The Commission has also settled with British Airways and Cargoplex International Airlines.

Airlines still defending Commission charges are: Air New Zealand, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Japan Airlines , Korean Air Lines, Malaysian Airlines, Singapore Airlines and Thai Airways.

The Commission prosecutions follow similar action by regulators in Australia, Europe and the United States. Total fines imposed internationally to date exceed $2 billion.

More by Matt Nippert

Comments and questions

If oil cartels are legal, why can't airline cartels be??

you for got to mention shipping? Ok on the sea but a no no in the air ? how does that work?

Or if the government funds the cartel, its legal but when the private sector funds it, it is not. General practitioners only get government primary health care subsidies if they agree to collaborate via cartels called Primary Health Organisations. Patients cannot choose their PHO - they must belong to the one their GP chooses for them. I can at least choose whether I get fleeced by the 'OneWorld Cartel' or the 'Star Alliance' Cartel.