Australian Regulator Accuses Garuda of Cargo Price-Fixing

SYDNEY ~ Australia’s competition watchdog has launched legal action against Garuda Indonesia for alleged cargo industry price-fixing, the 10th carrier to face action from the regulator.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said the Indonesian flag carrier had colluded with other international carriers to fix cargo and other rates between 2001 and 2006.

Under agreements reached in Indonesia and Hong Kong, Garuda and the other airlines allegedly rigged the price of fuel and security surcharges, the ACCC said on Wednesday, adding that it was seeking financial penalties.

“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 US$41 million in penalties against respondent airlines,” the competition watchdog said.

The investigation has already seen Australia’s Qantas and British Airways fined $20 million and $5 million respectively, with penalties of $5 million each also ordered against Martinair and Cargolux.

Air France and KLM had to pay $3 million each, while cases are still being heard against Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Emirates, the ACCC said.

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

New Zealand has accused 13 airlines of forming an air cargo cartel and similar action has also been taken in the United States.

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