Tue, Dec 23, 2008 - Page 11 News List

Aussie watchdog alleges Singapore carrier fixing prices

AFP , SYDNEY

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) yesterday alleged Singapore Airlines Cargo had been involved in price fixing, making it the third airline the regulator has pursued in this regard.

The watchdog said it had begun proceedings against the Singapore carrier in the Federal Court as a result of its probe into price fixing cartels in the air cargo industry.

The commission alleges the carrier had “arrangements or understandings with other international air cargo carriers that had the purpose or effect of fixing the price of a fuel surcharge and a security surcharge” on cargo carried to and from Australia between 2001 and 2005.

“The ACCC is seeking declarations, injunctive relief, pecuniary penalties, and costs,” it said in a statement.

The Singapore carrier is the third airline the ACCC has accused of price fixing since late October when it instituted proceedings against Qantas Airways and British Airways.

Australia’s national airline Qantas was fined A$20 million (US$13.6 million) after admitting it engaged in price fixing linked to international cargo fuel surcharges between 2002 and 2006.

The Australian federal court in Sydney also fined British Airways A$5 million after it admitted an illegal arrangement in the airfreight market over the same time period with the German airline Lufthansa.

Commission chairman Graeme Samuel said on Monday the body was continuing to probe other airlines, “some of which are assisting voluntarily, while others are not.”

The case against Singapore Airlines begins with a directions hearing in Sydney on Feb. 12.

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