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Qantas pays up for collusion

Qantas pays up for collusion

Qantas has settled an American class action for $US26.5 million ($26.8 million).Disgruntled American purchasers launched the suit after the Australian airline carrier admitted it was part of a…

Qantas has settled an American class action for $US26.5 million ($26.8 million).

Disgruntled American purchasers launched the suit after the Australian airline carrier admitted it was part of a cartel between 2000 and 2006 that colluded to fix air cargo charges. In November 2007, Qantas was fined $US61 million by the US Justice Department after it pleaded guilty to price fixing in the air freight industry.

The class action settlement, which was negotiated by Qantas' US legal advisers, Todd Miller and Kimberly Shaw from Washington DC firm Baker & Miller, represents the latest example of Qantas having to pay for its anti-competitive behaviour.

It received a $20 million penalty from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in 2008 for breaching price fixing rules, and in November last year the European Commission fined the airline carrier $12.1 million.

South Korean and Canadian authorities also imposed modest fines on Qantas for anti-competitive behaviour.

A number of other airlines that were part of the price fixing cartel have reached settlement agreements with the US class action plaintiffs.

Air France/KLM parted with $US87 million, while Lufthansa ($US85 million), Cargolux ($US35.1 million) and Scandinavian Airlines ($US13.9 million) have all agreed to settle for hefty sums.

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