Air France accepts US DoJ US$210m fine

On 26 June Air France announced that it had come to an agreement with the US Department of Justice (DoJ), over its role in the international cargo cartel price-fixing scandal that has blighted the industry since February 2006.
According to the terms of the agreement, Air France has accepted it will pay US$210m, an amount that corresponds to the provision the airline made for the fine in its 2007-2008 accounts.
Air France president Jean-Cyril Spinetta, says measures had been put in place to prevent any further breaches of antitrust law.
Last month AF-KLM announced it had put aside €530m ($675m) for fines from US and European authorities.
Four other airlines were also fined after agreeing plea bargain deals. These comprised KLM (US$140m), Cathay Pacific ($60m), SAS ($52m) and Martinair ($42m).
Scott D Hammond, deputy assistant attorney general in charge of criminal enforcement for the DoJ’s anti-trust division says: "When these companies and their co-conspirators got together and agreed to raise prices for air cargo shipments, American businesses and consumers ended up picking up the tab.
In a statement the DoJ explained that the airlines had agreed to co-operate with the DoJ investigation, which was continuing, and that the plea agreements were subject to approval by the US district court where the charges had been filed.
Having hammered European and Asian airlines with ridiculous fines that are only used to boost government coffers and lawyers bank accounts, when will reason prevail and the authorities stop this one-eyed persecution of the industry?
It will also be interesting to see when, or if, any US airlines are eventually found guilty of ‘cartel’ activities.

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