AUSTRALIA: Airlines face Australian cargo class action

Seven international airlines have been served with a A$200 million class action in Australia accusing them of global price fixing on air freight from 2000. Melbourne law firm Maurice Blackburn Cashman is leading the action against Qantas, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Air New Zealand, Japan Air Lines and British Airways. A writ filed in […]


Seven international airlines have been served with a A$200 million class action in Australia accusing them of global price fixing on air freight from 2000.

Melbourne law firm Maurice Blackburn Cashman is leading the action against Qantas, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Air New Zealand, Japan Air Lines and British Airways.

A writ filed in the federal court alleges freight charges were unlawfully over-inflated through surcharges imposed by the airlines including fuel surcharges, security charges and war risk fees to cover insurance costs associated with the Iraq war.

The lead litigant is Auskay International, a Victorian-based importer of vacuum systems and distributor of home and business security equipment such as alarm systems, video door phones, audio intercom systems and video surveillance.

Kim Parker of Maurice Blackburn Cashman, said several potential litigants had contacted the firm since the statement of claim was filed, with thousands of businesses eligible to join the action.

¡°We have received multiple inquiries about the many thousands of businesses that will be affected by the cartel,¡± she said.

While the suit claims that each of the individual major airlines are liable for the whole A$200 million, Parker said a negotiated settlement or court decision was likely to split the amount to reflect each airline¡¯s share of the air freight market in Australia.