New Zealand fines Japan Airlines NZ$2.28m for cargo price fixing

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Japan Airlines (JAL) has been slapped with a NZ$2.28 million ($1.8 million) fine for breaching New Zealand's commerce act for its part in an air cargo price fixing cartel.

The fine was imposed by the high court in Auckland after the carrier admitted liability to the country's commerce commission that it "colluded to impose fuel and security charges for air cargo shipments into and out of New Zealand", says the commission.

The penalty was recommended by the commission and JAL as part of a pre-trial settlement. JAL will also pay costs to the commission.

"The commission is pleased to have settled with another airline. Wherever possible, if a party is prepared to admit liability, we will seek to resolve issues through settlement. This provides welcome certainty for the litigants and is significantly less costly and drawn-out for all parties," says the commission's general counsel for competition, Mary-Anne Borrowdale.

JAL is the fourth airline to settle with the commission after British Airways, Cargolux International Airlines and Qantas Airways. The settlements obtained from the four carriers amounted to NZ$16.38 million.

The commerce commission will continue proceedings against Air New Zealand, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Korean Air, Malaysia Airlines, Singapore Airlines Cargo, Singapore Airlines and Thai Airways.

Proceedings against Garuda Indonesia, United Airlines and six Air New Zealand executives were discontinued in April 2011.