19 Mar 2011

Commission settles with 3 airlines in cartel case

6:58 am on 19 March 2011

New Zealand's competition regulator has reached settlement with three airlines it claims were involved in cartel conduct in the cargo industry.

The Commerce Commission was taking legal action against 13 international airlines, including Air New Zealand, claiming they colluded to raise the price of freight by imposing fuel surcharges for more than seven years.

The commission says it has reached settlements with Qantas, British Airways and Cargolux, which have admitted liability.

The commission won't release details of the settlement, but says the airlines will pay significant penalties.

Qantas says its terms of settlement are confidential, but they include a fine of $A4.7 million.

The airline secured a 50% discount for cooperating with the commission's investigation.

The commission has dropped proceedings against United Airlines, but its case against the nine other airlines, including Air New Zealand, heads to court in May.