AUSTRALIA’S competition and consumer watchdog is taking airline Emirates to court on charges of alleged price fixing in the air cargo industry.
The case is the result of ongoing investigations into price fixing in the air cargo industry by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
The ACCC alleges that between 2002 and 2006, Emirates entered into arrangements or understandings with other international air cargo carriers that had the purpose and effect of fixing the price of certain fuel surcharges, security surcharges and rates that were applied to air cargo carried by Emirates and other airlines.
The ACCC alleges that the arrangements or understandings were reached in countries including Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong, United Arab Emirates and India.
A directions hearing has been set down for September 11, 2009 in the Federal Court in Sydney.
Emirates is the ninth airline to be the subject of ACCC proceedings for fuel surcharge price fixing. On December 11 2008, the Federal Court ordered Qantas Airways and British Airways to pay penalties of $20 million and $5 million respectively, as jointly submitted by the parties.
In addition, the ACCC has instituted proceedings in the Federal Court against Singapore Airlines Cargo and Cathay Pacific Airways. These proceedings continue.
The total pecuniary penalties to date ordered against respondent airlines in these matters are $41 million.
The ACCC continues to investigate other airlines with the assistance of cooperating parties, and further actions are expected over the next few months.