British Airways cargo cartel appeal rejected
22 / 11 / 2017
The European Court of Justice has turned down British Airways attempts to have its fine for its alleged role in the air cargo cartel overturned.
In a complex ruling, which can be found here, Europe’s highest court dismissed the airline’s appeal to fine the carrier €104m for operating a price-fixing cargo cartel on fuel and security surcharges between 1999 and 2006.
In a statement, British Airways parent IAG said: "We note the decision and will be reviewing our position."
In total, 11 air cargo carriers were fined a total of €776m. British Airways was not the only airline to appeal the decision, in March it was revealed that 11 airlines planned to contest the fines.
In November 2010, the EC imposed fines of nearly €800m on 11 air cargo carriers that had participated in an alleged price-fixing cartel between December 1999 and February 2006.
The carriers had all been operating in the airfreight services market covering flights from, to and within the European Economic Area.
According to the EC, the cartel arrangements consisted of numerous contacts between airlines, at both bilateral and multilateral level, to fix levels of fuel and security surcharges.
The companies fined in 2010 were Air Canada, Air France-KLM, British Airways, Cargolux, Cathay Pacific Airways, Japan Airlines, LAN Chile, Martinair, Qantas, SAS and Singapore Airlines.
A 12th cartel member, Lufthansa, and its subsidiary, Swiss International Air Lines, received full immunity from fines.
All but one of the companies (Qantas) subject to the 2010 ruling challenged the decision before the EU’s General Court.
And, 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.
However, the decision was then overturned again in March 2017, leading to the latest round of appeals.