The Competition Commission of India on Wednesday said it had imposed penalties on three airlines for colluding to fix and revise fuel surcharge rates on cargo flights. The competition watchdog said it had fined Jet Airways Rs 39.81 crore, IndiGo Rs 9.45 crore and SpiceJet Rs 5.10 crore.

The commission was acting on information filed by the Express Industry Council of India against the three airlines. The watchdog said it imposed the penalties based on the revenue each airline generated through its air cargo transport services – the fine imposed was 3% of their average relevant turnover for the last three years.

The commission said that fuel surcharge rates are meant to check volatility in fuel prices, but Jet Airways, IndiGo and SpiceJet were using them as a pricing tool.

The watchdog also passed a “cease and desist” order against the airlines. This is a legally enforceable order directing a firm to stop engaging in a certain activity – in this case, cartelisation.