Lufthansa reaches air cargo anti-trust settlement with Deutsche Bahn

German logistics and European rail group Deutsche Bahn has reached an undisclosed settlement with Lufthansa concerning an alleged airline cargo cartel that operated from late 1999 to early 2006.

The settlement ends the companies’ dispute before the Regional Court of Cologne that has been ongoing since 2013.

“After intense negotiations with Lufthansa, we were able to find a good solution for both sides,” said Martin Seiler, member of the management board of DB for human resources and legal affairs.

He added: “Instead of continuing costly legal proceedings for years to come, it would be in the interests of all sides if we were able to reach an agreement with the remaining cartelists.”

In 2010, the European Commission in Brussels and various other antitrust authorities across the world imposed fines totalling almost €800m against 11 air cargo carriers (Air Canada, Air France-KLM, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Cargolux, Japan Airlines, LAN Chile, Martinair, SAS, Singapore Airlines and Qantas).

The commission alleged that a price fixing cartel in operation from late 1999 to early 2006 set the levels of fuel and security surcharges.

This led DB Barnsdale, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn, to pursue damage claims on behalf of its forwarding arm DB Schenker and several other freight forwarders and shippers who assigned their claims to the company.

It was mutually agreed that further details concerning the settlement remain “strictly confidential” said Deutsche Bahn.

Prior to agreeing to the settlement with Lufthansa, DB Barnsdale had already reached settlements with Singapore Airlines, Air France-KLM, Qantas and SAS.

Six defendants still remain in the proceedings before the Regional Court of Cologne: Cargolux, Cathay Pacific, LAN Chile/LATAM, Air Canada, British Airways and Japan Airlines.

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