Emirates plans to fight a legal investigation launched by the Australian competition authorities claiming it took part in a cargo price-fixing ring.
The Dubai carrier becomes the ninth airline accused of price-fixing by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
In a statement the Commission alleges that, between 2002 and 2006, “Emirates entered into arrangements or understandings with other international air cargo carriers that had the purpose and effect of fixing the price of certain fuel surcharges, security surcharges and rates”.
It claimed such “arrangements or understandings” were reached in countries including Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong, United Arab Emirates and India”.
Emirates has retaliated by saying it “denies the allegations and will be defending the proceedings”.
Proceeding are due to be held in a Sydney court on September 11, and Emirates could face heavy penalties if found guilty.
The Commission has won penalties against several airlines. Last December, it fined national carrier Qantas A$20m and British Airways, A$5m. Air France/KLM, Martinair and Cargolux were ordered to pay a total of A$21m. Ongoing claims are being made against Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines.
The action by the Australian authorities is part of a global clampdown by regulators on fixing cargo as well as passenger fuel surcharges.
New Zealand has accused 13 airlines of forming an air cargo cartel and the US has taken similar action.