Australia fines Cathay, Singapore Airlines for price fixing

The Australian federal court has imposed a $23-million fine on Cathay Pacific Airways and Singapore Airlines Cargo Pte Ltd for engaging in price fixing related to fuel and security surcharges and the movement of cargo to the US and Australian troops in the Middle East.

The penalties are for engaging in cartel conduct in breach of the Trade Practices Act 1974, now the Competition and Consumer Act 2010, the country's competition watchdog Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said in a statement today.

The actions taken by the ACCC are part of a larger cartel conduct proceedings taken against more than a dozen of international airlines.

Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines are the 11th and 12th airlines that have settled the case with penalties amounting $11.25 million and $11.75 million, being the second and third largest fines ordered so far.

ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said,  ''The penalties against Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines Cargo bring the total penalties ordered in Australia to $91 million. These are the highest total penalties resulting from a single ACCC investigation.''

''The conduct, which we consider to constitute a serious breach of the law, included an attempt by Singapore Airlines Cargo to fix rates for meat exports going to US and Australian troops stationed in the Middle East,'' Sims said.