Air cargo anti-trust dispute: DB and Lufthansa to end legal dispute

Martin Seiler: “It would be in the interests of all sides if we were able to reach an agreement with the remaining cartelists.”

Air cargo anti-trust dispute: DB and Lufthansa to end legal dispute Bild: Lufthansa Cargo

Deutsche Bahn has reached a settlement with Lufthansa concerning the air cargo cartel. The settlement ends the companies’ dispute before the Regional Court of Cologne that has been ongoing since 2013.

The settling parties are DB Barnsdale AG, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn AG, and the following companies of the Lufthansa Group – Lufthansa Cargo AG, Swiss International Air Lines and Deutsche Lufthansa AG. It was mutually agreed that further details concerning the settlement remain strictly confidential.

In 2010, the European Commission and various other antitrust authorities across the world imposed fines totaling almost EUR 800 million against 11 air cargo carriers (Air Canada, Air France-KLM, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Cargolux, Japan Airlines, LAN Chile, Martinair, SAS, Singapore Airlines and Qantas). The EU Commission alleges that a price fixing cartel in operation from late 1999 to early 2006 set the levels of fuel and security surcharges.

This led DB Barnsdale AG to pursue damage claims on behalf of DB Schenker,  several other freight forwarders and shippers who assigned their claims to the company. In 2013, the company filed an action for damages at the Regional Court of Cologne against the air cargo carriers involved in the cartel. Prior to agreeing to the settlement with Lufthansa, DB Barnsdale AG had already reached settlements with Singapore Airlines, Air France-KLM, Qantas and SAS. Six defendants still remain in the proceedings before the Regional Court of Cologne: Cargolux, Cathay Pacific, LAN Chile/LATAM, Air Canada, British Airways and Japan Airlines.