Korean Air Pleads Guilty to Price Fixing

On July 19, Korean Air Lines Co., Ltd. (“Korean Air”) pleaded guilty and was fined $5.5 million for its participation in an air cargo price fixing cartel between April 2002 and February 2006. The conviction is the seventh conviction to date arising from the Competition Bureau’s air cargo investigation.

The investigation also saw guilty pleas since 2009 for conspiracy to fix air cargo fuel surcharges from each of Cargolux Airlines International S.A. (“Cargolux”), Société Air France (“Air France”), Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij N.V. (“KLM”), Martinair Holland N.V. (“Martinair”), British Airways PLC (“British Airways”) and Qantas Airways Limited (“Qantas”).

To date fines in excess of $22 million have accumulated: Korean Air ‐ $5.5 million, Cargolux ‐ $2.5 million, Air France ‐ $4 million, KLM ‐ $5 million, Martinair ‐ $1 million, British Airways ‐ $4.5 million and Qantas ‐ $155,000.

The Bureau’s press releases can be found here.  

Commissioner of Competition Resigns

On June 28, the Commissioner of Competition, Melanie Aitken, announced that she will be stepping down, effective September 21, 2012. Commissioner Aitken was appointed in 2009 for a five year term. It will likely take at least several months to appoint Ms. Aitken’s successor. Ms. Aitken is known for pursuing high profile litigation against a number of targets, including the Canadian Real Estate Association (for abuse of dominance), Visa and Mastercard (for price maintenance in relation to merchant restrictions), Rogers (in connection with advertising relating to its Chatr wireless brand) and a non‐notifiable merger involving potential competitors. The Bureau’s announcement can be found here.