AUSTRALIA & NZ: Air NZ, JAL latest in price-fixing charges

Air New Zealand and Japan Airlines are the latest to be targeted by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) in the long running investigation into price fixing in the air cargo market. This most recent action makes Air NZ and JAL the 14th and 15th airlines to be linked to the allegations, which have […]


Air New Zealand and Japan Airlines are the latest to be targeted by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) in the long running investigation into price fixing in the air cargo market. This most recent action makes Air NZ and JAL the 14th and 15th airlines to be linked to the allegations, which have involved court action by authorities in the United States, Britain and in Europe.

Blasting the charges against it, Air New Zealand (ANZ) general counsel John Blair said the charge was “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.”

ACCC claimed that ANZ 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. Blair said the carrier will defend the allegations. “The proceedings are unlikely, due to the logistics, to come to trial for some time and appear to have little to do with competition or Australian consumers,” he commented.

The allegations arise from proceedings initiated by ACCC 18 months ago against Singapore Airlines with other carriers added subsequently. The antitrust regulator alleges that between 2002 and 2006, ANZ entered “into arrangements or understandings with other international air cargo carriers that had the purpose or effect of fixing the price of a fuel surcharge and a security surcharge that were applied to air cargo carried by them and other airlines.”