, SYDNEY, Jun 14 – An Australian court on Thursday fined Malaysia Airlines Aus$6 million (US$5.98 million) for price-fixing linked to a massive international cargo cartel.
Australia’s anti-trust regulator said the carrier’s cargo division was hit with the fine after it admitted in the Federal Court that it colluded with other airlines on various fuel, security and customs fees.
The admissions related to surcharges on freight from Indonesia between October 2001 and October 2005, a racket in which eight international airlines have already admitted involvement.
“This penalty sees the total penalties ordered against this international cartel increase to a record Aus$58 million,” said Rod Sims, chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
“The ACCC’s focus on stopping cartel conduct has sent a strong message… cartel conduct is damaging and unlawful because it harms competition and usually inflates prices for consumers,” he added.
Settlement has already been reached with Korean Air, Japan Airlines, Qantas, British Airways, Cargolux, Martinair, and the now-merged Air France and KLM.
Cases continue against Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Air New Zealand and Thai Airways International, according to the ACCC, with proceedings against Garuda Indonesia halted pending a High Court challenge.