The European Commission has fined 11 air cargo carriers, including Air Canada, Cathay Pacific, Cargolux, Japan Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Quantas, LAN Chile, SAS, British Airways, Air France, KLM and Martinair, for participating in a worldwide price-fixing cartel relating to fuel and security surcharges on routes within Europe as well as to countries outside the EU. The investigation into the cartel was initiated in February 2006 by the US Department of Justice, in cooperation with the European Commission and the Korean competition authority.
Damage claims by customers seeking financial redress for the harm caused by the cartel have so far been initiated in Australia, the United States, France, the UK and the Netherlands. In the US, SAS, Lufthansa, Air France, KLM and Martinair have agreed to pay settlements totalling approximately USD 186 million. The Netherlands has attractive conditions for collective settlements of mass claims, as a Dutch court held last year that a collective settlement in a mass litigation case can be declared binding on all worldwide class members on an “opt out” basis. Such binding declaration must be recognised by courts in all EU Member States under the Brussels I Regulation, and also in Switzerland, Iceland and Norway under the Lugano Convention.