June 6, 2014 / 7:53 AM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 1-Australia court clears $35m settlement of air cargo class action

* Air New Zealand left out of settlement

* Ends long-running class action against airlines (Adds airlines in settlement)

MELBOURNE, June 6 (Reuters) - A A$38-million ($35-million) settlement of an Australian class action suit against an air cargo cartel won court approval on Friday, said the law firm representing the buyers of international air freight services, who brought the suit.

The case, launched in 2007 by importers and exporters of products to and from Australia, said that airlines colluded to fix fuel and security surcharges on international air freight services, said law firm Maurice Blackburn Lawyers.

Importers and exporters had sued airlines including Qantas Airways Ltd, Lufthansa Cargo, Singapore Airlines Ltd , Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd and British Airways for services provided between 2000 and 2007.

Although Air New Zealand was also targeted in the class action, court approval of the settlement did not cover that airline, the lawyers said.

The pact, without admission of liability by the airlines, was first announced in April.

Air cargo carriers have faced hefty penalties from competition authorities in Australia the European Commission and the United States for price fixing.

The Australian class action was funded by Bentham IMF Ltd . ($1=1.0743 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)

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