Swiss competition watchdog fines US$12 M

Switzerland’s competition watchdog said in early January that it has fined 11 airlines for fixing airfreight prices as much as a decade ago, a move that follows similar investigations by authorities in the US, Australia and the European Union.


Swiss competition watchdog fines US$12 M


Switzerland’s competition watchdog said in early January that it has fined 11 airlines for fixing airfreight prices as much as a decade ago, a move that follows similar investigations by authorities in the US, Australia and the European Union. The Competition Commission, also known by the German-language acronym WEKO, said in a statement the airlines were fined a total of 11 million Swiss francs (US$12 million).

The Swiss investigation found the carriers had agreed on a variety of elements that affected the pricing of airfreight transportation. Those included freight rates, and surcharges for fuel and clearing US customs. The commission said the activities constituted “serious infringements” of Switzerland’s Cartel Act. The Swiss investigation echoes wideranging probes into past price-fixing and collusion in the air-cargo business before 2006 conducted by US and European authorities.

Under the Swiss probe, Air France- KLM received a 3.9 million Swiss franc fine, the stiffest penalty. AMR AAL Corporation, the parent of American Airlines Inc., was fined 2.2 million Swiss francs, while United Continental Holdings Inc. was fined 2.1 million Swiss francs. Korean Air Lines, Atlas Air Worldwide, SAS and Singapore Airlines were also sanctioned. British Airways IAG, Cathay Pacific Airways, Japan Airlines and Cargolux Airlines International were fined, but benefited from “substantial reductions” of the penalties after submitting leniency applications. Lufthansa a part of the cartel, but escaped penalties because it was the whistleblower in the case, WEKO said.