Two former Cathay Pacific Airways executives are among a number of airline managers who have been excluded from a series of plea-bargain agreements between carriers and the US Justice Department to settle allegations of price fixing on airfreight shipments. Kenny Tang Kwok-kit, formerly general manager for Cathay Pacific Cargo, and Thomas Wong Wing-cheong, who was the airline's head of cargo sales for Hong Kong and China may now face further charges. Tang is currently chief operating officer at Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering, the Swire Pacific aircraft maintenance company, while Wong is managing director for Hong Kong and Macau at DHL Supply Chain. Both men did not respond to efforts to contact them for comment. US Justice Department officials would not discuss the plea agreement, but there is a general five-year statute of limitations on people excluded from plea bargains being charged by the department. This five-year period starts from the end of the conspiracy rather than the date of the plea bargain, or when the agreement was filed in court. But there might be extenuating circumstances, including more complex cases being investigated by the department, which might mean the five year limit could be ignored. Cathay and one of the lawyers representing the airline in the plea bargain declined to comment. The US action against Cathay is part of an international crackdown on airlines accused of breaching competition law. Carriers have so far been fined about US$3 billion for collusion, four airline executives have been jailed, criminal investigations are still under way in six jurisdictions and civil claims for compensation potentially worth billions of US dollars are continuing in five countries. The 19-page plea agreement was signed on June 23, 2008 by Tony Tyler, then Cathay Pacific chief executive and Sheldon Krantz and F Martin Dajani, lawyers from DLA Piper US, the airline's US law firm, and representatives from the Justice Department's Antitrust Division. The agreement was filed at the District of Columbia district court one month later on July 22, 2008. The airline agreed to pay a US$60 million fine after it pleaded guilty to conspiring to fix rates for air cargo shipments between Hong Kong, the US and other markets 'from at least as early as May 1, 2002 until at least February 14, 2006'. The deal gave immunity to 'any current or former director, officer, or employee of the defendant or its subsidiaries for any act or offence committed before the date of this plea agreement'. But the agreement said 'that the protections granted ... shall not apply to Kwok Kit Kenny Tang and Wing Cheong Thomas Wong'. The department alleged the airline 'through its officers and employees, including high-level personnel of the defendant's cargo division, participated in a conspiracy with one or more providers of air cargo services, a primary purpose of which was to suppress and eliminate competition by fixing one or more components of the cargo rates charged to customers'. The department added: 'The defendant, through its officers and employees, engaged in discussions and attended meetings with representatives of one or more providers of air cargo services. During these discussions and meetings, agreements were reached to fix one or more components of the cargo rates to be charged to purchasers of air cargo services from Hong Kong to the United States.' The department estimated Cathay Pacific generated sales of 'at least US$412.2 million' between May 2002 and February 2006 on airfreight shipped from Hong Kong to the US. Two Air France Cargo executives, Marc Boudier, former executive vice-president and Jean Charles Foucault, former vice-president for sales and marketing, were charged by the department at the end of April with conspiracy to fix rates and surcharges for air cargo. This was more than five years and two months after the end of a conspiracy involving Air France and KLM. They were among five executives from Air France and KLM who were excluded from a plea bargain that was filed in court on the same day as the Cathay Pacific agreement. Air France and KLM, which became a single company in May 2004, were sentenced to pay a single criminal fine of US$350 million of which US$210 million was attributed to Air France. The department alleged the Air France-KLM fixed airfreight rates and surcharges between May 2001 and February 2006, generated US$818.6 million in combined sales on air cargo shipments from the US. Justice department officials have so far charged 21 airline executives, and four of these have pleaded guilty and been subsequently jailed and fined under plea bargains.