Qantas slapped with fine for price fixing

Qantas fined by the Canadian Competition Bureau after pleading guilty to fixing surcharges on air cargo

Qantas has been hit with a $A163,722 fine by the Canadian Competition Bureau after pleading to fixing surcharges on air cargo exported on routes from Canada between May 2002 and February 2006.

CCB Interim Commissioner of Competition Melanie Aitken says Qantas trucked cargo from Canada to the United States for onward shipment to Australia during the four year period.

Under the country’s Competition Act, any agreement between competitors to fix prices that result in an undue lessening of competition in Canada is a criminal offence which can carry fines of up to C$10 million.

"Prohibiting conspiracies is at the core of the competition enforcement and is the bureau’s top priority," Aitken says.

"Conspiracies to fix prices are a serious criminal offence that harm everyone but the perpetrators who cheat the system."

Last month Air France, KLM and Martinair all pleaded guilty to similar charges and were fined a combined total of $10 million.

A spokeswoman for Qantas tells ATN the national carrier takes full responsibility for its actions.

"The settlement which resolves liability for Qantas and its current employees involves a recommended fine of $C150 000," she says.

The spokeswoman also says Qantas will continue to assist authorities in Europe, Korea, New Zealand and South Africa with other such investigations, although she would not comment further on what these may be.

"Qantas continues to cooperate fully with investigations being undertaken by authorities in a number of other countries," she says.

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