SIA, SAA enter settlements with S Africa's competition watchdog

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South Africa's competition regulator has concluded settlements with Singapore Airlines (SIA) and South African Airways (SAA) in relation to a price fixing probe.

"The settlements are in relation to price fixing conduct in respect of flights between Johannesburg and Hong Kong," Competition Commission of South Africa says in a statement.

Under the agreement, SIA will pay a penalty of rand (R) 25.1 million ($3.3 million) and SAA, R18.8 million.

"In the case of SAA, this settlement agreement also settles cases against the airline with regards to collusion concerning international air cargo surcharges and domestic route prices and pricing strategies during the 2010 Soccer World Cup. However, no findings were made against SAA in respect of these two matters," says the commission. "The commission's investigation into cargo fuel surcharges was referred to the competition tribunal in July 2010."

In a statement, SIA notes that in January 2008, the commission initiated complaints against several airlines, including SIA, for alleged infringement of South Africa's competition act.

"Singapore Airlines cooperated with the [commission] throughout the investigation and has reached agreement on the terms of a settlement of the matter," it says. "Singapore Airlines decided to negotiate a settlement after consulting its legal advisors and carefully weighing its options."

The agreement awaits approval by the South African Competition Tribunal, after which the investigation will be closed for SIA, the airline says.

Both carriers are members of the Star Alliance network.