Air France-KLM fined $350 million
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French-Dutch airline company Air France-KLM was ordered by the US Justice Department to pay $350 million for fixing air cargo prices in the US. Cathay Pacific, Danish carrier SAS and Martinair Holland were also charged.
Four major airlines, including Air France-KLM and Cathay Pacific Airways, have agreed to pay US criminal fines totalling 504 million dollars to settle charges they conspired to fix air cargo prices, officials said Thursday.
"This price-fixing conspiracy undermines our economy and harms the American people who, due to lack of true competition in this area, end up footing the bill," said Kevin O'Connor, an associate
Air France-KLM will pay the largest fine among the four airlines charged, totalling 350 million dollars. Officials said the penalty was the second highest ever applied in a
Justice Department officials said the airlines conspired to "suppress and eliminate" competition by fixing cargo freight rates charged to customers for international air shipments.
"As part of the conspiracy, several companies and their co-conspirators artificially raised the price to ship into and out of the
Officials said the conspiracy affected billions of dollars of consumer and other goods shipped by the airlines, including produce, electronics and medicines, over several years.
Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific agreed to pay a 60-million-dollar fine, while SAS will pay a 52-million-dollar penalty and Martinair will pay a 42-million-dollar sanction.
The Justice Department has already charged other major airlines as part of its widening dragnet into the air cargo conspiracy.
A former high-ranking executive of
Japan Airlines pleaded guilty in April to air cargo price-fixing charges and was sentenced to pay a large 110-million dollar criminal fine.
In August of last year, British Airways and Korean Air Lines pleaded guilty to being involved in improperly fixing air cargo rates. Both airlines also paid hefty
Officials said Air France and KLM Dutch Airlines had been operating as separate airlines when their conspiracy was hatched in 2001. The two carriers merged into Air France-KLM in 2004 and integrated their cargo shipment operations.