Issue: Price-fixing cartel
On February 14, 2006, European Union antitrust investigators raided the offices of British Airways Plc, Deutsche Lufthansa AG, Air France-KLM Group and several competitors in a probe with the U.S. Justice Department of price fixing in the air cargo market. In addition, there were simultaneous raids in the United States and Asia and elsewhere in Europe.
Private antitrust lawsuits on behalf of airfreight customers, both individuals and businesses, have been filed alleging a global conspiracy to fix prices for fuel, security and insurance surcharges in international air cargo shipping.
Allegations Raised in Air Cargo Antitrust Lawsuits
Plaintiffs allege that the major cargo carriers have illegally fixed surcharges under the guise of (1) rising fuel costs beginning in 2000; (2) additional security costs as a result of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks; and (3) rises in war-risk insurance premiums as a result of the Iraq war in 2003.
Plaintiffs charge that air freight carriers raised their surcharges in concert with one another through the secret exchange of information and public announcements, and that the surcharges have continued despite changes in economic and political conditions that were the purported, original justifications for the surcharges.
Defendants Named in Litigation
The Defendants include ACE Aviation Holdings, Inc., Air Canada, AC Cargo LP, Air France ADS, Air France-KLM Group ADS, Air France Cargo ADS, Air France-KLM Cargo ADS, Asian Airlines, British Airways, Cargolux Airlines International S.A., Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd., Deutsche Lufthansa AG, Lufthansa Cargo, Japan Airlines International Company LTD, Korean Air Company, Ltd., Lan Airlines S.A., Nippon Cargo Airlines Co., Ltd., Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, Inc., Polar Air Cargo S.A., SAS AB, dba SAS Group, SAS Cargo Group A/S, Singapore Airlines Limited, Singapore Airlines Cargo Pte Ltd, Swiss International Air Lines Ltd., UAL Corporation, United Airlines Inc., United Airlines Cargo Inc., Virgin Atlantic Airways Limited, and the International Air Transport Association.
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