Airline Price-fixing Settlement Approved

August 3, 2012

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British Airways, LAN and seven other airlines received final court approval in New York on Thursday for a settlement agreement on a six-year-old antitrust class action suit that accused the carriers of fixing cargo-shipping prices.

The agreement, confirmed by the federal court in the Eastern District of New York, produces a recovery of USD$183 million for the plaintiffs and marks the third settlement agreement in the lawsuit. In his court order, Judge John Gleeson said the agreement was "fair, reasonable and adequate" to the class.

Under the agreement, British Airways will pay USD$89 million, Chilean carrier LAN will pay USD$66 million and Dubai's Emirates will pay USD$7.8 million.

In 2006, more than 90 civil lawsuits were filed against more than two dozen airlines accusing them of conspiring to raise air-cargo freight rates. In all, 42 airlines have been named in the suits.

The civil complaints originated from a US Department of Justice investigation into a number of airlines suspected of violating antitrust rules with the air-transportation industry.

(Reuters)