Sunday October 26, 2014

US clears Air NZ in cargo cartel investigation

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has ended its cargo cartel investigation into Air New Zealand, clearing the airline of any wrongdoing in the United States.

The announcement comes after Air New Zealand received a letter from DOJ Federal Prosecutors confirming that the airline was “no longer a subject or target of the ongoing grand jury investigation”. However, the carrier still faces cargo price fixing charges by New Zealand’s Commerce Commission (NZCC), the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and a host of other international regulators in a six year long investigation that has involved several airlines and freight companies. Over US$1 billion in fines have so far been imposed on airlines/operators who have admitted guilt or were found guilty by competition regulators.

“This brings a closure not only for the airline but also, importantly, to a few individuals who have had to live for more than five years under the threat of criminal penalties, despite the airline’s confidence in their innocence,” Air New Zealand general counsel John Blair said.

“Air New Zealand has conducted and continues to conduct its business affairs in compliance with the laws of the countries that it services,” he added.