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Sat, Aug 04, 2007 - Page 10 News List

Qantas closely watching US price fixing inquiry

AFP, SYDNEY

Australian airline Qantas said yesterday it was closely following a US government probe into air transport after two other international carriers were hit with huge fines for price fixing.

The US government is investigating price-fixing in the air cargo market and on Thursday British Airways and Korean Air Lines Co were fined US$300 million each for conspiring to fix prices on passenger and cargo flights.

Qantas, which last year was subpoenaed to provide information to the US Department of Justice inquiry, said it would be monitoring the situation closely.

"We are watching developments," a company spokesman said.

Qantas said that immediately following its receipt of the subpoena, it had undertaken a review of its cargo operations to determine whether it had, at all times, complied with the law.

"During this investigation Qantas learned that the practice adopted by Qantas Freight and the cargo industry generally, to fix and impose cargo fuel surcharges, is likely to have breached relevant competition laws," the airline said in a statement in February. "Qantas has been cooperating fully with all regulators and will continue to provide information to assist with their investigations."

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