China Airlines is the latest carrier to get fined for price-fixing air cargo rates. The Taiwan-based airline plead guilty and now faces a $40 million fine. Northwest Airlines has also plead guilty.
A total of 18 airlines have been snared by the Department of Justice in an ongoing investigation. Eight airline executives have also been charged. The Department of Justice has imposed a total of $1.6 billion in fines and given four executives jail time for a conspiracy that reaches back to early 2000. China Airlines was conspiring with other airlines to fix cargo rates to and from the United States, a violation of antitrust laws. Rates are supposed to be subject to the free market, but the airlines secretly agreed to set a rate in order to maximize profits.
For a complete list of the airlines and executives involved, click here.
Ever get to a restaurant, realize that you’re starving and everything sounds delicious, proceed to order way too much food and then realize when it arrives that there is no way on Earth you can eat it all? While in addition to being wasteful, this kind of behavior can now earn you a fine in India.
According to the Independent, diners caught wasting food in Mumbai will be charged an extra 5 rupees (about 10 cents). The rising cost of food and gas prices in India was the impetus behind the idea, which was the brainchild of the Association of Hotel and Restaurant Owners in Mumbai. The city is home to 7,000 restaurants and 40% of residents eat out at least once per day, so the wasted food does add up.
While the very small fine may not be enough to deter some people from wasting food, its backers hope that it will raise awareness about the rising cost of ingredients.
I have to wonder though, will exceptions be made if you just don’t like the food? I can only imagine overhearing the complaints: “Not only was my biryani awful, but they charged me extra because I couldn’t eat it all!”
US Airways and United Airlines both stand to receive multi-million dollar fines from the FAA for maintenance violations.
US Airways’ violations include failing to inspect cargo doors and landing gear on a few plans and for failing to perform routine checks on dozen of others. US Airways responded quickly to the news, saying that the violations stem from the integration of their maintenance systems back from October 2008 to January of 2009, and that they are working on addressing the issues. The airline could be fined up to $5.4 million. This is the isn’t the first time US Airways has been fined this year either. In January, they were fined for violating rules involving oversold flights.
United’s violation is perhaps more troubling. The airline faces a $3.8 million fine for a single incident. In April 2008, a Boeing 737 returned to Denver after its engine shut down with low oil pressure. When the engine was inspected, two shop towels were inside. The towels “had been used to cover openings in the oil sump area” instead of the regulation caps. The towels were believed to have been there since December 2007, when maintenance was performed on the engine. This sounds terrifying, but according to the Cranky Flier website, it isn’t quite as scary as it sounds. The caps are only used during maintenance and then removed.
But still, the FAA is taking the incident seriously. “As a result of United’s failure to follow its maintenance procedures. . .it flew the aircraft on more than 200 revenue flights when it was not in an airworthy condition,” the FAA said in a statement.
[via ABC News Denver]
Qantas is eager to put this year behind itself. Several mid-air incidents caused the airlines commitment to safety to come into question. Also, their plan to outsource labor caused a ruckus with local unions. Nonetheless, the Qantas is keeping its head above water. It dominates lucrative routes between the US and Australia and holds its own against stiff competition in Asia.
So when a price-fixing scandal involving the airline’s freight division came to public attention, Qantas was only too willing to make amends. Between 2002 and 2006, Qantas was one of over 30 airlines to charge unnecessary fuel surcharges. Virgin Atlantic and British Airways are the two high profile airlines already guilty of price fixing via fuel surcharges. But whereas the two London-based carriers’ scandal involved passengers, Qantas was only accused of fixing prices on air freight. Chief exec Geoff Dixon announced that the issue was settled before the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). A fine of AUS$20 million was paid to the ACCC. Last year, Qantas paid US$61 million for a related price-fixing charge in the US.
About a month ago I wrote about the flight attendant that showed up too work a little too intoxicated for her own good. The flight which she was scheduled to work on August 3 was headed from Aberdeen, Scotland to Faro, Portugal but was delayed for almost seven hours while a replacement was found for the tipsy flight attendant.
Turns out she was more than just tipsy; she was six times over the legal limit. So this Tuesday the flight attendant was forced to resign from her job as well as tacking on a £400 fine. Thanks to the hearing we have learned some of the juicy details of the incident. According to the Press and Journal the woman had arrived in Aberdeen in the early hours of Saturday August 2. She proceeded to go out with the rest of the crew and went to bed somewhere around breakfast time. Later that day she went into town with four colleagues. Two cocktails and two shared bottles of wine later, the woman said she went to bed around 11pm.
Doesn’t sound all too crazy, but somehow the following morning something was just a little off… to the tune of six times over the legal limit for her job and three times over the legal limit for driving a car. So she was removed from the plane by police officers… But who knows, maybe a tipsy flight attendant would have made the flight just a little more entertaining… except for the fact they they are there for our safety! Don’t drink and fly.