Japan Airlines fined US$110 million for price fixing

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

A JAL Airbus A300

After admitting to price fixing on cargo services between Japan and the United States, Japan Airlines (JAL) has been fined US$110 million by the United States Department of Justice.

Prosecutors allege JAL earned $2 billion illegally between 2000 and 2006, although it is possible the scheme was operating as early as 1995. British Airways, Korean Air and Qantas all previously admitted being involved and paid fines. The cartel, which created artificially high prices by eliminating competition between its members, was exposed by whistleblower Lufthansa, who alerted authorities in exchange for immunity to prosecution. Three other airlines are also involved.

JAL is the biggest carrier in Japan and the biggest carrier of cargo between Japan and the US.

Japan will not take any further action against the carrier. The investigation was performed by two US groups, the FBI and the Department of Justice.