EUROPE & CIS: Air France-KLM settles US class action suit

Air France and Dutch partners KLM and Martinair have said they have reached a settlement with plaintiffs on a US civil class action suit brought against them for conspiring to fix air cargo rates. But the settlement does not affect the outcome of a European Union (EU) anti-trust probe, which is still pending. “Pending its […]


Air France and Dutch partners KLM and Martinair have said they have reached a settlement with plaintiffs on a US civil class action suit brought against them for conspiring to fix air cargo rates. But the settlement does not affect the outcome of a European Union (EU) anti-trust probe, which is still pending.

“Pending its approval by the US court, the accord, in exchange for payment of US$87 million (€69 million), ends all civil action against the three companies… concerning the US air cargo market between 2000 and 2006,” they said in a statement.

The three companies now operate as one under the Air France-KLM group, following their merger in 2004.

The civil class action suits were filed in 2006 after the US and EU authorities launched a probe into price rigging of the US cargo market. Four major airlines, including Air France-KLM and Cathay Pacific Airways, had to pay US fines worth US$504 million when they were found guilty in 2008 of conspiring to fix air cargo prices.

Air France-KLM paid the largest amount, US$350 million, to settle this criminal case, leaving the civil plaintiffs in the US to pursue their claims. US Justice Department officials said at the time the airlines plotted to “suppress and eliminate” competition by fixing cargo freight rates charged to customers for international air shipments.