Air France KLM loses its fight against the fine of a European cartel

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  • Air France KLM: plans to appeal the decision
  • Air France KLM: €350.6 million provisioned

BRUSSELS, March 30 (Reuters) – Air France-KLM (AIRF.PA) and its Dutch subsidiary KLM on Wednesday lost their challenge to €1 million fines imposed again by EU antitrust regulators a year ago. five years for participating in an air cargo cartel. two decades ago.

Air France KLM has indicated that it plans to appeal this decision.

Air France and 10 of its peers had in 2015 won their legal battle against the fines imposed by the European Commission in 2010 for having fixed air cargo services, fuel and security surcharges between December 1999 and February 2006.

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The EU competition authority subsequently corrected procedural errors reported by the Luxembourg Court and reissued the same sanctions in 2017, with the exception of Martinair, which saw its fine reduced.

The airlines then referred their case to the Court of First Instance, the second highest in Europe.

The Luxembourg court rejected the actions of Air France KLM and KLM as well as those of Martinair Holland, Cargolux, Lufthansa (LHAG.DE) and Singapore Airlines (SIAL.SI).

“Air France-KLM has taken note of the judgment of the General Court of the EU on the appeal brought against the decision of the European Commission of March 17, 2017 against 13 cargo operators, including the airlines of the Air group France, KLM and Martinair for practices deemed anti-competitive in the air cargo sector,” Air France KLM said in a statement.

Air France employees stand around the first Air France Airbus A220 during a ceremony in the Air France hangar at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport in Roissy near Paris, France, September 29, 2021. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

“The Group will immediately analyze this decision with a view to an appeal before the Court of Justice. Provisions of 350.6 million euros (391 million dollars) including interest have been constituted for these fines in the as of December 31, 2021,” he added.

The Commission imposed a fine of 182.9 million euros on Air France, the highest, followed by KLM at 127.1 million. The total fine for the cartel made up of 12 airlines amounted to 776 million euros.

The court reduced fines for Air Canada (AC.TO), Japan Airlines (9201.T), British Airways (ICAG.L), Cathay Pacific Airways (0293.HK), Latam Airlines Group and its subsidiary Lan Cargo.

SAS (SAS.ST)’s fine remained roughly the same after judges reduced the penalties for some of his offenses but increased them for others.

Lufthansa (LHAG.DE) and its subsidiary Swiss International Airlines escaped a fine by alerting the EU competition authority to the cartel.

These are T-323/17 Martinair Holland, T-324/17 SAS Cargo Group and others, T-325/17 KLM, T-336/17 Air Canada, T-334/17 Cargolux Airlines, T-337 /17 Air France–KLM, T-338/17 Air France, T-340/17 Japan Airlines, case T-341/17 British Airways, T-342/17 Deutsche Lufthansa ea, T-343/17 Cathay Pacific Airways, T-344/17 Latam Airlines Group & Lan Cargo and T-350/17 Singapore Airlines & Singapore Airlines Cargo.

($1 = 0.8967 euros)

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Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle/Sudip Kar-Gupta

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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