ACCC accuses Air NZ, JAL of price fixing


The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) launched Federal court proceedings against Air New Zealand and Japan Airlines over price fixing allegations on Monday.

The ACCC has claimed that both airlines entered into arrangements or understandings with other international carriers between 2002 and 2006 to fix the price of fuel and security surcharges.

Air NZ, which is currently seeking ACCC approval for a trans-Tasman alliance with Virgin Blue, has vehemently denied the allegations which it said appeared to have little to do with competition and Australian consumers.

"Air NZ is disappointed to today receive a statement of claim from the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission in an obvious jurisdictional and financial grab challenging the right of governments in places such as Hong Kong to regulate their own outbound air services and airfreight markets," Air NZ general counsel John Blair told The Australian.

"Air NZ will defend the allegations by the ACCC that it was one of nine airlines breaking Australian laws — by complying with requirements of local regulators in Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore in relation to airfreight charges."

According to Mr Blair the ACCC claims were based on "the fully transparent, formally recorded discussions among airlines for the purposes of obtaining approval for surcharges from regulators such as the Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department and the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau".

A directions hearing has been set down for June 10 in the Federal Court in Sydney.

Similar court proceedings have also been launched against Singapore Airlines Cargo, Cathay Pacific Airways, Emirates, Garuda Indonesia, Thai Airways International, Korean Air Lines, Malaysian Airline System Berhad and its wholly-owned cargo subsidiary MASkargo.
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: C.F
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