ACCC upholds price fixing fines against Garuda and Air NZ

Air New Zealand Boeing 777-300ER

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has upheld surcharge price fixing fines against Garuda Indonesia and Air New Zealand.

The ACCC had taken action against 15 airlines, of which, 13 paid fines totalling $98.5 million, while Garuda and Air New Zealand appealed. Proceedings against Garuda and Air New Zealand were dismissed on 31 October 2014, as it did not occur in a ‘market in Australia’, but the ACCC appealed to the Full Court of the Federal Court. The Full Court found that if cargo was carried to a destination within Australia, it took place with a ‘market in Australia’, so breached price fixing laws.

ACCC chairman, Rod Sims says: “This decision is significant because it confirms the ACCC’s view that the conduct by the airlines in fixing air cargo surcharges to be paid by Australian importers and ultimately passed on to Australian consumers, were caught by Australian competition laws.”

The airlines that did not appeal and paid fines of between $5 million and $20 million each were Air France KLM, British Airways, Cargolux, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Japan Airlines, Korean Air Lines, Malaysia Airlines, Martinair, Qantas, Singapore Airlines and Thai Airways.