Friday, October 30, 2009

Thai Air Freight Now in ACCC Spotlight

Prosecution launched against another airline
Shipping News Feature

AUSTRALIA / THAILAND - The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) investigation into air freight rates price fixing is to be extended even further with the announcement on Thursday that the organisation was implementing proceedings against Thai Airways International.

The commission alleges that between 2001 and 2006 the airline colluded with other international air cargo carriers with the purpose of fixing the price of security and fuel price surcharges that were applied to air freight carried by Thai Airways and other airlines. Thai Airways is the 11th airline to face prosecution by the ACCC to date.

In response to the accusations Niruj Maneepun, vice-president for legal and compliance affairs at Thai Airways, told the Bangkok Post that: “We are mindful of our status as a government-owned company, so we are very careful in the way we do business.”

He added that the prosecution was not unexpected by the company’s board and they had taken measures to secure funds against any punitive measures.

The ACCC’s action comes in addition to worldwide investigations and court cases involving air freight surcharge collusion. To date some $1.6 billion has been levied in fines on the airlines responsible with the prospect of more to come if the EU’s Competition Commission rules that there is a case to answer in Europe as has already been done in the US, Canada and Australia.