Japan Airlines (JAL) has agreed to pay a $110 million fine as part of a plea agreement with the US Dept of Justice (DoJ) related to its role in the fixing of international cargo rates. JAL joins Qantas, British Airways and Korean Air in pleading guilty, and agreeing to penalties, on similar charges.
The indictment is part of a long-running investigation by US and European authorities which has also targeted other carriers
A DoJ statement said JAL "engaged in a conspiracy. . .to eliminate competition by fixing the rates for international shipments of cargo to and from the US and elsewhere from on or about April 1, 2000, to February 2006," which apparently netted it nearly $2 billion on its US-Japan routes.
A JAL statement, meanwhile, responded by saying that the airline had "cooperated fully" with DoJ's inquiry and that the plea agreement "is the best resolution. . .in the circumstances." The Japanese flag carrier also said it had set aside a reserve of around ¥11.5 billion ($113.6 million) to accommodate a potential penalty and promised it "will determinedly continue to expand and reinforce its current antitrust compliance program."