October 31, 2014: The Australian Federal Court today delivered its decision in relation to the long running airfreight case brought by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) in 2010, alleging agreements with airline competitors in Hong Kong and Singapore between 2000 and 2006.
The Court has found in favour of Air New Zealand and Garuda, the only airlines to defend the allegations through to the trial in May 2013. The airlines argued that to the extent there were any agreements, they were appropriately authorised by the relevant regulators outside the Australian market.
Air New Zealand's General Counsel, John Blair says, "This decision is important in aviation because international operators need clarity of the legal boundaries of the 'markets' in which they operate. The distinction between where competitive markets exist and where jurisdiction lies determines which regulators' requirements must be met. Respect for national sovereignty and legal jurisdiction has been a foundation of the aviation industry since 1919."
Today's Court decision follows the release of Air New Zealand in June from the civil class action without liability or payment and brings an end to this protracted investigation and legal claims in Australia.
The air cargo industry has been the subject of a globally co-ordinated investigation by competition regulators and civil actions by class action lawyers for over eight years. Air New Zealand was cleared of involvement by the European Commission in 2010 and by the USA Department of Justice in 2011. The company continues to defend a related class action claim in the United States which is the only remaining litigation arising from this matter.