US Department of Justice release details of six Qantas Executives connected with air freight cartel

16 January 2008
The US Department of Justice today released the names of six Qantas Executives connecting them to the global price-fixing cartel.

In November 2007, Qantas was fined by US$61 million by the US Department of Justice for its role in price fixing in the airfreight industry.

Leading Class Action Law Firm, Maurice Blackburn served a class action on Qantas in February 2007 claiming that seven major international airlines were involved in a global price fixing cartel.

The Class Action states that Qantas used surcharges as a mechanism to increase prices by secret arrangement between the various airlines and that they were not connected with increased cost of operations as represented by the airlines.

Kim Parker, Maurice Blackburn Principal, said that the release of the Qantas guilty plea in the US means that the firm's clients were able to bring this class action into sharp focus.

"We now know exactly which executives of Qantas are in the spotlight of the competition regulators, which will enable us to streamline our clients' evidence against the airlines.  We hope this will speed up the process of achieving a just recovery for our clients." Ms Parker said.

The US Plea Agreement states that former and current Qantas Executives Peter Frampton, John Cooper, Stephen Cleary, Harold Pang, Desmond Church and Bruce McCaffrey will not receive immunity from prosecution that was offered to Qantas.

In November last year, Qantas admitted to the US Department of Justice that it had engaged in a price fixing arrangement.  As a result of Qantas' misconduct, thousands of businesses have paid inflated prices for air cargo over the last eight years.

"Price fixing and market rigging by powerful organisations are the worst kinds of anti-competitive abuse and it is important that victims of that behavior and this class action is about putting money back in the pockets of who have been victims of this misconduct," Ms Parker said.

The impact of the price fixing by the airlines is estimated to be worth in the order to $200 million.