Air Freight Cartel: DB and British Airways reach out of court settlement





Air Freight Cartel: DB and British Airways reach out of court settlement

Seven out of 11 airlines have reached a settlement deal with DB • About 75 per cent of the claims for damages already settled out of court • Cargolux and Cathay Pacific still opting to defend claims in-court

Deutsche Bahn has reached an out-of-court settlement with British Airways in relation to damages claims arising from the Air Freight Cartel. Both parties have agreed that the details of the settlement agreement, including the settlement amount, remain confidential. The settlement ends a long-running court battle commenced in 2013 against British Airways at the Regional Court of Cologne.

The settlement marks the seventh out-of-court settlement that DB Barnsdale AG, a subsidiary of DB, has reached as part of this legal process.

As a result, about 75 per cent of the damages originally claimed have now been settled out of court through commercially sensible deals. There remain four defendants in the legal process at the Regional Court Cologne: Cargolux, Cathay Pacific, LAN Chile/LATAM and Japan Airlines.

Martin Seiler, Member of the Management Board for Human Resources and Legal Affairs at Deutsche Bahn AG: “In difficult economic times, we act in the interests of all participants and try to amicably reach sensible settlements between parties instead of pursuing long and resource intensive legal processes. We remain open to discussions with the remaining defendants.”

In 2010, the European Commission – along with other competition authorities globally – fined eleven airlines almost EUR 800 million as a result of the illegal coordination of fuel and security surcharges.

DB Barnsdale AG is pursuing damages claims on behalf of DB Schenker as well as the assigned claims of other freight forwarders and shippers. In 2013, DB Barnsdale AG launched litigation to pursue damages claims against the participants of the Air Freight Cartel: Air Canada, Air France/KLM/Martinair, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Cargolux, Japan Airlines, LAN Chile/LATAM, Lufthansa/Swiss, SAS, and Singapore Airlines.

In May 2020, insolvency proceedings began in relation to the assets of LAN Chile/LATAM after LAN Chile/LATAM filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Given that the other defendants are jointly and severally liable, the claims for damages against LAN Chile/LATAM can also be pursued against the other defendants.