Emirates slapped with price fixing charge
Australia - The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), a consumer watchdog, has begun legal action against Emirates Airline for allegedly helping fix prices in the air cargo industry.
The ACCC alleges Emirates entered into "arrangements or understandings" with other cargo carriers to fix the price of certain fuel and security surcharges, as well as air cargo rates, The Australian reported .
Dubai-based Emirates is the ninth airline to be targeted by the watchdog in its pursuit of an international cargo price-fixing cartel that has affected numerous airlines worldwide.
A directions hearing has been set on 11 September 2009, with the commission seeking declarations, injunctive relief, pecuniary penalties and costs.
According to the Telegraph, Emirates plans to fight the charge. The airline has denied being part of any cargo price-fixing cartel and will defend court action brought against it by the ACCC.
Lawyers for Emirates said at a previous court action the commission had no power to investigate whether the company fixed fuel surcharges for freight services on international flights, as the alleged conduct occurred overseas.
Besides Emirates Airlines, ACCC is currently battling ongoing proceedings against Singapore Airlines (SIA) and Cathay Pacific.
The commission has succeeded in obtaining penalties of approximately US$33.7 million (A$41 million) against Qantas, British Airways, Air France, KLM, Martinair and Cargolux.The heaviest penalty of approximately US$16.5 million was levied against Qantas last year after the Australian airline admitted to being part of the scheme.
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