Air NZ wins $3.2m in legal costs over price-fixing claims

JOSH MARTIN
Last updated 18:28 06/06/2014

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Air New Zealand has been awarded $3.2 million in legal costs after defending allegations of price fixing in the Australian air cargo market.

Other airlines in the civil class action will pay A$38 million (NZ$41.7m) in a settlement reached with air cargo customers in the Federal Court of Australia.

In 2007 Australian law firm Maurice Blackburn took the class action against major international airlines including Qantas, Lufthansa Cargo, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Air New Zealand and British Airways, in relation to international air freight services stretching back to January 2000. 

The class action sought damages and other relief on behalf of air freight customers, such as exporters, for losses suffered as a result of the alleged cartel conduct by the airlines.

Air New Zealand denied any wrongdoing in this civil class action case and in a separate Federal Court case, brought by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

A decision of the Federal Court is still pending, in respect of those ACCC proceedings.

The proceedings are the latest in a string of globally co-ordinated regulatory and class action cases against alleged price-fixing of air cargo services by airlines also including Emirates, Korean Air, Japan Airlines, Singapore Airlines Cargo, Malaysian Airlines Cargo and Thai Airways.

In June 2013, following a Commerce Commission investigation here, Air New Zealand was ordered by the High Court to pay a $7.5 million penalty for price-fixing as part of a settlement.

The airline was cleared of involvement by the European Commission in 2010 and by the US Department of Justice in 2011, but a class action against it in the United States remains.

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