The European Commission has fined Cathay Pacific Airways Euro57.12 million (HK$618 million) for colluding in price fixing on cargo surcharges to and from Europe. The airline is one of 11 fined a total of Euro799 million yesterday by the European Union regulator. 'We will make full provision for the amount as per the accounting standards within this year, but without accepting them,' a spokesman for Cathay said. The provision would imply a 4.8 per cent drop in Cathay's net profit this year, a Goldman Sachs report said yesterday. The carrier did not make similar provisions on previous occasions when it was involved in antitrust probes in various jurisdictions, including Australia, New Zealand and Europe. Cathay was still reviewing the commission ruling and evaluating its options with its legal advisers, it said yesterday. 'I would like to stress that we have always endeavoured to comply fully with the legal requirements in every jurisdiction in which we operate and that we are firm in our support of full and fair competition among all air carriers,' Tony Tyler, chief executive of Cathay, said yesterday. As validation of Cathay's commitment to fair competition, he cited the competition compliance office that Cathay had set up. The office provided training and support necessary for the airline to comply with competition laws around the world. Lufthansa, which was the first carrier to turn itself in to the regulator, and its subsidiary Swiss International Airlines had not been fined, the EU said on its website. 'Lufthansa received full immunity under the Commission Leniency Programme as it brought the cartel to the Commission's attention and provided valuable information.' Ten airlines managed to get the fines reduced. Cathay Pacific, Air France-KLM, Lan Chile and SAS were granted a 20 per cent discount on their fines because of their co-operation with the commission. Singapore Airlines, the only airline to get no discount on its Euro74.8 million fine, said it was disappointed with the decision and 'strongly contests' the allegation it was involved in fixing prices. The carrier said it was likely to appeal against the decision. The fine, if realised, would shave 9.5 per cent off Singapore Airlines' net profit this year, the Goldman Sachs report said. Air France and its subsidiary KLM, which were fined Euro310 million in total said they would appeal, too, as will Lan Chile and SAS. Five carriers applied for a discount, claiming inability to pay the fine, the regulator said without disclosing the names. But none of the applications met the conditions for a reduction. Qantas, which was fined Euro8.88 million, said it acknowledged improper conduct by its freight unit. The commission's ruling comes on the heels of jail sentences for some airline executives following a global antitrust crackdown. Keith Packer, a former cargo manager with British Airways, was sentenced to a jail term of eight months after pleading guilty to US charges of collusion with rivals to inflate fuel surcharges in 2008. The same year the US government fined 18 airlines at least US$1.6 billion and filed criminal charges against 14 executives for price fixing. Cathay Pacific was fined US$60 million by the US government. The commission ruling stated the carriers concerned had infringed its competition laws by collectively setting cargo surcharges from December 1999 to February 2006 in Europe. It said that, among themselves, the airlines reached a consensus on fuel surcharges and decided to rope in other airfreight operators to ensure uniform surcharges on all shipments to and from Europe.The price fixing was extended to security surcharges later on. To ensure that all 'cartel members' would introduce the surcharges in full, the carriers found guilty by the commission allegedly agreed to refuse to pay a commission on surcharges to their clients, freight forwarders and the middlemen between exporters and airlines. 'By refusing to pay a commission, the airlines ensured surcharges did not become subject to competition by way of discounts to customers,' the regulator said. Cathay shares dropped 0.45 per cent to HK$22 yesterday.