Qantas hit with $20 million fine for price fixing

Qantas has agreed to pay a $20 million settlement for its role in a cartel that allegedly fixed prices within the air freight sector.

Qantas has agreed to pay a $20 million settlement for its role in a cartel that allegedly fixed prices within the air freight sector.

The settlement comes after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission launched action in the Federal Court against Qantas and British Airways over the air freight cartel, which has been investigated by global competition watchdogs for more than two years.

It is understood British Airways has accepted a penalty of around $5 million.

Qantas chief executive Geoff Dixon said the agreement, once accepted by the Federal Court, would settle the liability in Australia for Qantas and all of its current employees.

“Qantas apologises unreservedly for the conduct of the employees involved; all Qantas employees are expected to comply with the law and we take any failure to comply very seriously.”

It is the second time Qantas has had to pay a fine in the air freight price fixing case. In late 2007, Qantas agreed to pay a $US61 million fine to the US Government after its investigation of the case.

ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel said the cases against Qantas and British Airways represented the first in a series of upcoming cases against international airlines over the cartel behaviour.

“The ACCC continues to investigate other airlines, some of which are assisting voluntarily, while others are not. The ACCC expects to be able to resolve its investigations with other cooperating airlines shortly.”

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