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Airline price-fixing case settled

Three airlines have reached financial settlements with a New Zealand regulator for participating in a price-fixing scheme in the global air freight market, the regulator said.

The New Zealand Commerce Commission also said it discontinued a similar case against United Airlines.

The regulator's statement did not reveal the size of the settlements with British Airways, Qantas Airways and Cargolux International Airlines for their actions from 2000 until 2006.

But Qantas said it agreed to pay a 6.5 million New Zealand dollar (£2.9 million) fine and would continue to cooperate fully in the regulator's case against other airlines.

The Australian carrier said in a statement the fine represented a 50% discount for cooperating with the regulator's investigation. Further terms of the deal are confidential.

A number of countries are prosecuting airlines over a massive cartel that artificially inflated passenger and cargo fuel surcharges on routes extending to the United States, Europe, South America and the Asia-Pacific region.

New Zealand's regulator started proceedings against 13 airlines in 2008, alleging they colluded on fuel surcharges on cargo into and out of New Zealand.

The pending cases involve Air New Zealand, Cathay Pacific Airways, Emirates, Japan Airlines International, Korean Air, Malaysian Airlines, Garuda Indonesia, Singapore Airlines and Thai Airways.

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