New carrier linked to US scandal

Qantas Airways has agreed to plead guilty in the US for its role in a conspiracy to fix the price of international air cargo shipments.
Paying the price: Qantas Airways is fined in the US.
Paying the price: Qantas Airways is fined in the US.

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Qantas Airways has agreed to plead guilty in the US for its role in a conspiracy to fix the price of international air cargo shipments.

The Australian airline will pay a US$61 million fine to the US Department of Justice for its part in fixing rates with other carriers from at least January 2000 to February 2006. Subject to court approval, under the plea agreement Qantas has agreed to cooperate with the department's ongoing investigation.

"Qantas' guilty plea sends a clear message that those who engage in price fixing and other forms of illegal collusion will pay a heavy price for their crimes," said Thomas Barnett, assistant attorney, General Department of Justice.

In August 2007, both British Airways and Korean Air Lines were fined $300 million each by the US Department of Justice for colluding with competitors to fix fuel surcharges on cargo shipments to the US. In addition to fuel surcharge fixing, US officials said both airlines were involved in a conspiracy with the German carrier Lufthansa to fix charges for international cargo shipments.

"Our investigation into this important industry will continue, and we will aggressively pursue those who engage in criminal conduct that harms American consumers," added Barnett.

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