Air China agrees to US settlement of $50 million

Nederland. Luchthaven Schiphol Amsterdam Airport. 12 september 2012. inaugurele vlucht van China Air Cargo. foto: Herman Wouters

Air China has agreed on a $50 million settlement in a US civil antitrust litigation case over a price-fixing cartel, but denies any wrongdoing.

The carrier is the latest to settle and agree a payment and it is subject to approval by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

The Chinese carrier is alleged to together with other airlines, violated certain antitrust regulations in the US by concertedly levying inflated surcharges, jointly agreeing to prevent discounting of airfreight shipping services prices, agreeing on yields and allocating customers so as to fix, raise, maintain, or stabilise prices of airfreight shipping services.

Air China says in a statement: “Neither the company nor Air China Cargo acknowledges any wrongdoing or liability on the part of the company or Air China Cargo in the settlement agreement and there is no admission of any wrongdoing or liability in the settlement agreement.

“An amount for the settlement was provided in the accounts of the company in 2015. The settlement will not have a material effect on the results of the company to be reported in the future.”

Last month, Polar Air Cargo along with Polar Air Cargo Worldwide and Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings entered into a settlement agreement and agreed to pay $100 million.

Robins Kaplan LLP says the settlements bring the plaintiffs’ total recoveries in the litigation to almost $1.2 billion and leave just two defendants—Air India and Air New Zealand—to face trial in September 2016.

“We are pleased to be able to provide additional restitution to our clients and the class with these new settlements,” says Hollis Salzman, co-lead counsel for the plaintiff class and co-chair of the Antitrust and Trade Regulation practice group at Robins Kaplan LLP.

“After a decade of intense preparation, including taking depositions around the world and analyzing over 12 million pages of documents, we are now very much looking forward to trying our case against the final two defendants,” she adds.