By Oliver Haill
Date: Friday 17 Mar 2017
(ShareCast News) - European Commission antitrust regulators have fined 11 air cargo carriers including IAG's British Airways, Air France-KLM and Qantas a total of €776.5m for operating a price-fixing cartel.
The airlines fined were Air Canada, Air France-KLM, British Airways, Cargolux, Cathay Pacific Airways, Japan Airlines, LAN Chile, Martinair, Qantas, SAS and Singapore Airlines.
Lufthansa, and its subsidiary, Swiss International Air Lines, received full immunity from fines after blowing the whistle on their rivals and providing the Commission's "valuable information".
The largest fine was for Air France of €183m with its arm KLM also fined €127m, followed by BA's €104m, Singapore Airlines at €75m, Cargolux €80m and SAS €70m.
The EC re-adopted its decision after an original 2010 decision was annulled by the EC's General Court on procedural grounds.
All the companies apart from Qantas were subject to the 2010 decision challenged the decision before the EU's General Court.
In December 2015, the General Court annulled the Commission's decision against the 11 cartel participants that appealed, concluding that there had been a procedural error. However, it did not rule on the existence of the cartel.
Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, who leads the EC's competition policy efforts, said: "Millions of businesses depend on air cargo services, which carry more than 20% of all EU imports and nearly 30% of EU exports.
"Working together in a cartel rather than competing to offer better services to customers does not fly with the Commission. Today's decision ensures that companies that were part of the air cargo cartel are sanctioned for their behaviour."
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