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Cathay Pacific to review options on NZ$100-mln price-fixing charges

Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific said in a stock exchange statement that it was reviewing its legal option after receiving a EUR57 million (NZD100 million) fine from the European Commission for cargo price fixing together with 10 other airlines, according to the Shipping Gazette.

The report said 11 airlines were presented with a fine totalling up to EUR799.4 million earlier this week after the commission discovered they had coordinated pricing on their cargo business.

The commission's competition vice president Joaquin Almunia was quoted saying he hoped other airlines receive the message that cartel operations would not be tolerated. "It is deplorable that so many airlines co-ordinated their pricing to the detriment of European businesses and European consumers," he said.

But to the Hong Kong stock exchange, Cathay said: "The European Commission announced that it has issued a decision in its air freight investigation finding that, amongst other things, Cathay Pacific and a number of other international air cargo carriers agreed to cargo surcharge levels and that such agreements infringed European competition law. The European Commission has imposed a fine of Euros 57,120,000 (equivalent to HK$618 million) on Cathay Pacific. Cathay Pacific is reviewing the decision and evaluating its options with its legal advisers."

A Cathay spokeswoman was quoted saying: "Cathay Pacific remains committed to its long standing policy of full compliance with the law and reaffirms its support of full and fair competition among air carriers." -- Source: Shipping Gazette