Air France-KLM subsidiaries fined for cartelisation by Australian regulator

Continuing with its ongoing probe against several airlines for cartelisation, the Federal Court in Sydney has fined Air France and KLM, both subsidiaries of the Air-France-KLM Group, Martinair and Cargolux a total of A$16 million ($10.4) for forming a cartel to fix air-cargo shipments from Australia.

Europe's biggest carrier, Air France-KLM was fined A$6 million, Cargolux A$5 million and Martinair A$5 million in a case bought on by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) for breaking the price-fixing laws of Australia's Trade Practices Act.

Air France admitted to having arrived at understandings with Lufthansa, Martinair with KLM and Cargolux and Cargolux with Lufthansa, Air France and KLM for fixing rates in their international air cargo operations.

"This matter sends a clear message to those involved in cartel behaviour -- the ACCC will not stop its endeavours to identify and bring to an end illegal price-fixing conduct," commission chairman Graeme Samuel said in a statement.

The ongoing investigations in October by the ACCC, had secured court convictions against Qantas Airways and British Airways for the same offence and in December both the airlines agreed to pay fines totaling $18 million. (See: Qantas and British Airways fined $25 million for forming cartel)

The total fines levied so far against airlines operating out of Australia for cartelisation has come to A$41 million and the ACCC said that more airlines are under the scanner.