AUSTRALIA: Qantas latest to be hit in price-fixing scandal

Qantas has joined the growing list of international carriers that have pleaded guilty to collusion and price fixing for conspiring to fix charges for cargo shipments, with the airline agreeing to pay a fine of US$61 million. Chief Executive Officer of Qantas, Mr Geoff Dixon, said the illegal conduct involved fuel surcharges on the lucrative […]


Qantas has joined the growing list of international carriers that have pleaded guilty to collusion and price fixing for conspiring to fix charges for cargo shipments, with the airline agreeing to pay a fine of US$61 million.

Chief Executive Officer of Qantas, Mr Geoff Dixon, said the illegal conduct involved fuel surcharges on the lucrative US-Australia trade between 2000 and 2006. Qantas is estimated to have booked more than US $600 million in freight during the period under investigation.

“Similar investigations to those being carried out by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) are being undertaken by antitrust regulators in other countries, including Australia. “We understand more than 30 other airlines are included in these investigations,” he added.

Qantas was first notified of the allegations in May 2006 and Qantas had cooperated fully with investigations by the DOJ and other antitrust regulators, according to Dixon.

“These investigations confirmed that the practices adopted by Qantas Freight and the cargo industry generally to fix and impose fuel surcharges breached relevant antitrust laws,” he said.

Qantas was charged with “participating in meetings, conversations and communications… to discuss the cargo rates to be charged on certain trans-Pacific routes.” The carrier and its co-conspirators then levied rates in accordance with those discussions, and held further meetings to “monitor and enforce” the agreed-on rates.