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Air New Zealand beats another price-fixing rap

By control on July 8, 2011

In a letter to Air New Zealand, The Department of Justice (DOJ) said it has stopped its five-year investigation into the carrier's role in the price fixing scandal.

“After years spent working to establish our innocence we are delighted with this decision of Department of Justice Prosecutors, recognizing that Air New Zealand conducts its business affairs in compliance with the law," John Blair, the carrier's general counsel, said in a statement. "This brings a closure not only for the airline but also, importantly, to a few individuals who have had to live for more than five years under the threat of criminal penalties, despite the airline’s confidence in their innocence."

The DOJ's move follows a long line of similar decisions by other organizations. In 2010, the Korean Fair Trade Commission found that Air New Zealand hadn't played a role in the country's price fixing saga. The European Commission, which fined 11 carriers $1.1 billion for allegedly fixing cargo prices, folded its case against Air New Zealand earlier this year.

In April, the New Zealand Commerce Commission dropped its case against six Air New Zealand executives, explaining that commissioners wanted to narrow their focus and concentrate on "airlines with large turnover in the New Zealand market." The commission is still investigating Air New Zealand and seven other carriers. A full trial is scheduled to begin next year.

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