On December 21 the European Commission (Commission) sent a Statement of Objection to several airlines that are alleged to have participated in a cartel in the market for international air freight services. Specifically, the airlines are alleged to have agreed on levels of fuel surcharges and other fees applicable to international freight shipments. Although the Commission has not announced which carriers received the Statement of Objection, officials at British Airways, Germany’s Lufthansa, Air France-KLM and Scandinavia’s SAS have all confirmed their involvement.
A Statement of Objection is the procedural document whereby the Commission informs the parties under an antitrust investigation of the objections raised against them. Recipients are entitled to respond to the Commission’s objections in writing. In addition, parties may request an oral hearing to present their defense to the charges. The Commission will then issue a decision on whether or not the parties have violated the EC antitrust rules.