Eleven Airlines Fined For Cargo Price Fixing

March 17, 2017

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The European Commission has reimposed fines on eleven airlines for participating in a price-fixing cartel on air freight between 1999 and 2006.

The EC originally imposed EUR€776 million of fines in 2010, but the decision was annulled by the European Union's General Court in 2015 after an appeal by the airlines.

The European Commission at the time alleged that the cargo carriers manipulated the air freight market to and within the European Economic Area. It said the cartel’s arrangements “consisted of numerous contacts between airlines, at both bilateral and multilateral level to fix the level of fuel and security surcharges.”

The court concluded that there had been a procedural error by the Commission and annulled the decision.

The Commission “maintains that the air cargo carriers participated in a price-fixing cartel… and that the new decision addresses the procedural error identified by the General Court.”

Thirteen airlines were part of the original decision, but Lufthansa and Swiss International Air Lines received immunity as they alerted the Commission and provided information on the cartel.

The eleven airlines included in the EC decision are Air Canada, Air France-KLM, British Airways, Cargolux, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, LAN Chile, Martinair, Qantas, SAS and Singapore Airlines.

Air France-KLM received the largest fines, with Air France fined €182.9 million (USD$196.6 million) and KLM €127.2 million. The other fines ranged from €104 million for British Airways to €8.2 million for LAN Chile.