Price-fixing lawsuit costs British Airways $89.5M
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
NEW YORK (AP) — British Airways has agreed to pay $89.5 million to settle a class-action lawsuit alleging that it conspired with other airlines to fix prices for hauling cargo.
Chile’s Lan Airlines SA and Lan Cargo, and Aerolinhas Brasileiras SA of Brazil also agreed to pay $66 million to settle similar allegations, according to Hausfield LLP, the law firm that brought the cases and announced the settlements. It said it has now settled with 11 airlines around the world, for a total of almost $434 million. Other settlements included Lufthansa for $85 million and Air France-KLM for $87 million.
“This was a true global conspiracy,” said attorney Michael Hausfield.
The British Airways settlement covers actions between 2000 and 2006. It still needs approval by a federal judge in New York. British Airways did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
An affiliate of the law firm is suing British Airways in London. The firm said that litigation is not affected by the settlement in the U.S.
The allegations also resulted in a massive criminal investigation. So far, 21 airlines including British Airways have agreed to pay fines totaling more than $1.7 billion. Nineteen executives have been charged with wrongdoing, and four have gone to prison.
In November, the European Union fined 11 airlines including British Airways a total of $1.1 billion for fixing prices on international cargo shipments, leading to higher prices for businesses to move their goods. The European Commission, the EU’s competition watchdog, said “the carriers coordinated their action on surcharges for fuel and security without discounts” between December 1999 and February 2006.