Australian airline Qantas pleaded guilty Wednesday to taking part in an international conspiracy to fix air freight prices and will pay a US$13 million penalty under a settlement with Australian authorities.
The plea agreement before the country's Competition and Consumer Commission follows the airline's guilty plea in the United States in which Qantas paid a fine of $61 million. Former U.S. cargo manager Bruce McCaffrey pleaded guilty to conspiracy and agreed to a jail term and a fine in that case.
According to published reports in Australia, the commission could have imposed a far larger penalty on the airline but took into account Qantas' market share and its ongoing cooperation in a cargo anti-trust investigation that has enveloped many of the world's largest cargo airlines.
Qantas Chief Executive Geoff Dixon issued an apology for what he called "the conduct of the employees involved" and said the airline has cooperated fully with the investigation.
-- Traffic World