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Imperial Holdings Seeks Competition Inquiry Into Airline Freight

Sept. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Imperial Air Cargo, the logistics joint venture between Imperial Holdings Ltd. and Comair Ltd., asked South Africa’s Competition Commission to investigate the overnight air freight industry, saying state-funded South African Airways Ltd. has an unfair advantage on pricing.

“SAA Cargo has frozen its prices since April 2012, despite the impact of increased costs and deteriorating exchange rates,” Imperial Logistics Chief Integration Officer Cobus Rossouw said today in an e-mailed statement. “It is our view that SAA Cargo’s conduct can only be seen as an exclusionary strategy to eliminate the only remaining competitor, IAC, from the domestic overnight express airfreight market.”

While Imperial Air Cargo has increased its freight tariffs by 10 percent in a year to reflect higher costs, SAA Cargo pricing is unchanged, Rossouw said today on a conference call.

A spokesman for the Pretoria-based Competition Commission declined to comment when asked by e-mail about IAC’s request. He said the Commission will release a statement tomorrow.

A spokesman for SAA didn’t return e-mailed queries and telephone calls.

Imperial Air Cargo flies three Boeing 737-200s between Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and Port Elizabeth, with road feeder services to East London, George and Bloemfontein, Roussow said. The aircraft fly overnight, five days a week.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kamlesh Bhuckory in Johannesburg at kbhuckory@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net

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