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Three International Airline Companies Agree to Plead Guilty to Price Fixing on Air Cargo Shipments

On April 9, 2009, Luxembourg–based Cargolux Airlines International S.A., Japan–based Nippon Cargo Airlines Co. Ltd (NCA), and Korea–based Asiana Airlines Inc. each agreed to plead guilty and pay criminal fines totaling $214 million for conspiring to fix prices in the air cargo industry. In addition, Asiana was charged with and pled guilty to fixing the passenger fares charged on flights from the United States to Korea. According to the plea agreements filed in United States District Court for the District of Columbia, each company engaged in a conspiracy in the United States and elsewhere to eliminate competition by fixing the cargo rates charged to customers for international air shipments and/or passenger fares. The conspiracy started as early as September 2001 and continued until February 14, 2006. Cargolux has agreed to pay a $119 million fine. NCA has agreed to pay a $45 million fine and Asiana has agreed to pay a $50 million fine. These latest plea agreements, which are still subject to court approval, are the result of a large scale investigation into price fixing and collusion in the airline industry that is being coordinated by the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division. This DOT/OIG investigation is being conducted jointly with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Postal Service, Office of Inspector General.