Air New Zealand Denies Price Fixing

Aug. 26, 2009
Air New Zealand denies media reports it colluded with Emirates to fix cargo prices

In a letter to staff, Air New Zealand (ANZ) CEO Rob Fyfe said discussions in 2003 between ANZ and Emirates related to ANZ's interest in securing additional lift across the Tasman Sea and not cargo prices as media reports allege. At the time, ANZ was replacing 767-300s with A320s and needed more capacity, explained Fyfe.

Air Transport World magazine cited a report from Australia's Fairfax Media that ANZ staff, including Deputy CEO Norm Thompson, colluded with Emirates on fixing cargo rates between Australia and New Zealand. The Fairfax report cited court documents presented by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in relation to its ongoing investigation of Emirates. Those documents allege that Thompson and Emirates SkyCargo Senior VP Ram Menen discussed prices to be charged in October 2003.

According to Air Transport World, Fyfe explained the circumstances of those discussions saying , "This was going to create a serious shortage of Air NZ cargo capacity as we replaced widebody aircraft. At about the same time, Emirates had just entered the Tasman market bringing massive overcapacity of passenger and cargo services [with 777s and A340s], making them a logical source of extra widebody capacity." Fyfe told staff, "This was the context of Norm's [Thompson] discussions with Emirates, which after some negotiation resulted in a cargo Special Prorate Agreement; a very standard and entirely legal agreement in the airline industry. It records wholesale rates airlines will charge to each other. It does not reflect any agreement on prices to be charged to cargo customers."

Earlier in August, Emirates was charged with price fixing. See Emirates Joins Growing List On Price Fixing Charges.