The Federal Court has ordered Cathay Pacific Airways and Singapore Airlines Cargo to pay $23 million in fines for engaging in price fixing.
The conduct included an attempt by Singapore Airlines Cargo to fix rates for meat exports going to US and Australian troops stationed in the Middle East.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) took action against the two airlines as part of a broader cartel conduct case.
The ACCC says the latest penalties bring the total amount of fines ordered against 12 airlines in the case to $91 million.
Chairman Rod Sims says the main cartel conduct by the two airlines involved colluding on an index to adjust fuel charges rather than letting them be set by the free market.
"But there were also allegations about how they set security surcharges following the events of 11 September 2001," Mr Sims said.
"In the case of Singapore Airlines, they also attempted to fix the rates for meat exports going to US and Australian troops stationed in the Middle East in 2003." Mr Sims says the $91 million in fines recorded so far in the case makes it the highest total penalty arising from a single ACCC investigation "The sheer scale of these penalties will act as a strong deterrent to any business considering engaging in cartel conduct, regardless of size or country of origin," he said.
"The ACCC is fiercely committed to stopping cartel conduct, which is illegal, harms competition and often increases prices for consumers." The regulator's actions against Air New Zealand and Garuda Indonesia remain before the Federal Court.
The ACCC is also pursuing Thai Airways in the case.