EU fines Air France-KLM, British Airways, and 9 other airlines $835.5M
The European Commissioned has fixed a procedural error to a 2010 European General Court decision which annulled penalties for 12 global airlines. The Commission re-imposed penalties on Air France-KLM, British Airways and nine other airlines who had previously been fined 776 million euro ($835.5 million) by EU antitrust regulators for taking part in an air cargo cartel more than a decade ago.
The initial fines were annulled in December 2015 by Europe’s second-highest court, the Luxembourg based General Court, over procedural errors by regulators. The court said the European Commission’s decision was “contradictory because it accused the carriers of operating a single cartel but had highlighted actual legal infringements by only some carriers on some routes.” Air France was fined 182.9 million euros, followed by KLM at 127.1 million, British Airways at 104.4 million, and Singapore Airlines at 74.8 million.
According to EU regulators, “[t]he commission maintains that these air cargo carriers participated in a price-fixing cartel and is adopting a new decision and re-establishing the fines.” “The commission will not let cartels go unpunished.”
Other non-European carriers also penalized were Air Canada, Cathay Pacific Airways, Japan Airlines, LAN Chile. SAS was also fined but said it would appeal against the new decision. Lufthansa, was not fined because it alerted the EU competition authority about the cartel ahead of time.
Antitrust regulators in the U.S., Australia, South Korea and other countries, have also fined some of these airlines billions of dollars prior to 2013.