An international air freight cartel, involving airlines from New Zealand, Japan, the UAE, Malaysia, Korea, Thailand, Singapore and Australia, has been the subject of proceedings in courts around the world. The New Zealand Commerce Commission also issued proceedings concerning the operation of the cartel in New Zealand. However, some of the airlines claimed that the jurisdiction of the New Zealand courts did not apply to in-bound cargo because the markets in which airlines competed in the provision of in-bound air cargo services were located wholly outside New Zealand.

Before hearing the substantive trial, the High Court decided that there should be a preliminary trial on the issue of market definition. The trial was conducted on the basis of agreed facts, and the only witnesses were economic experts. The Court deemed  the market for in-bound freight to be partly in New Zealand. This means that New Zealand courts do have jurisdiction over the air freight cartel relating to both in-bound and out-bound freight. The High Court of New Zealand today handed down its decision in the first half of the air freight cartel case.

Frontier (Australia) was retained by the Commerce Commission and gave evidence at the trial.

For more information, please contact Marita O’Keeffe at or call +61 (0)3 9620 4488.

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