The long running air cargo price-fixing cartel edged closer to resolution this week, as Deutsche Bahn and Lufthansa reached an undisclosed settlement for the carrier’s alleged participation in a price-fixing cartel that operated between 1999-2006.
When Deutsche Bahn first filed the claim to German courts in 2013, it sought more than US$1.5 billion in damages from 11 carriers that had been found guilty by the U.S. Department of Justice, the E.U. Commission and other international authorities of price-fixing. Although the two parties agreed to keep the terms of the settlement confidential, it is thought to be considerably less than the $160 million originally claimed, according to local media reports.
DB Barnsdale AG, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn pursuing damages against the companies, has already reached settlements with Singapore Airlines, Air France-KLM, Qantas and SAS.
Six companies have yet to settle in the German case, including Cargolux, Cathay Pacific, LATAM, Air Canada, British Airways and Japan Airlines.
Lufthansa and subsidiary Swiss International Air Lines have skirted most regulatory fines related to cartel participation, including those imposed in the U.S and E.U., after receiving immunity for bringing the case to the regulators. In addition to the settlement with DB, Lufthansa also paid US$85 million to settle class action lawsuits in the United States.