Final air cargo antitrust litigation settlements approved

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Polar Air Cargo Boeing 747-400F

The last four of 28 settlements with defendants in the air cargo antitrust litigation have been granted final approval.

The final settlements were approved by Judge Brian Cogan of the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York on 5 October, including a $100 million settlement with Polar Air and $50 million with Air China, bringing the total to $1.2 billion.

The airlines are alleged to have participated in a global conspiracy to artificially inflate the price of air cargo shipping services, and affected nearly every business shipping goods to, from and within the US since 2000.

Robins Kaplan represented the plaintiffs, and co-lead counsel for the plaintiff case and co-chair of the antitrust and trade regulation practice group at Robins Kaplan in New York, Hollis Salzman says: “Since 2006, we have been honoured to pursue this litigation on behalf of those impacted by the defendants’ alleged anticompetitive practices.”

“We are pleased that the court granted final approval to each and every settlement obtained during this litigation, and we look forward to distributing these funds to those who suffered from this alleged collusion.”

A complaint was filed against three dozen air carriers in February 2006, with partial settlements passing $750 million in February 2014. Magistrates recommended the certification of a direct purchaser plaintiff class in October 2014, then in April 2015 a $99 million settlement was reached with EVA Airways. Settlements were announced with Polar Air and Air China in January and February 2016 and in May 2016 Air India and Air New Zealand agreed to settlements of $12.5 million and $35 million.