Several airlines including Qantas have agreed to a $38 million settlement of a class action related to price fixing.
The settlement agreement, which still needs court approval, comes seven years after the law suit relating to alleged cartel conduct in air freight services began.
The class action against Qantas, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Air New Zealand, British Airways and Lufthansa Cargo relates to alleged price fixing on international freight services since January 1, 2000.
The allegations relate to fuel and security surcharges imposed by the airlines.
The law suit sought damages on behalf of purchasers of air freight services for losses suffered as a result of the alleged cartel conduct by the airlines.
The proposed settlement involves no admission of liability by the airlines.
Air New Zealand did not participate in the proposed settlement, but the proceedings against Air New Zealand will be discontinued.
Maurice Blackburn class actions principal Brooke Dellavedova said the class action had been complex, difficult and long, so it was a significant victory for the businesses pursuing the case.
“These major types of actions are important in ensuring better standards of business behaviour right throughout our corporate landscape, and they of course play a pivotal role in opening access to justice,” Ms Dellavedova said in a statement.
Maurice Blackburn said the law suit was only the fourth cartel class action to be run in Australia.
Under the terms of the proposed settlement, Maurice Blackburn will receive about $13 million from the payment of $38 million to cover fees.
An application for approval is due to be heard in the Federal Court on June 6.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has fined 10 airlines nearly $100 million for price fixing of international air freight.
Air New Zealand and Garuda Indonesia defended proceedings brought by the ACCC, and a judgement is still to be delivered.