Long-Running Air Cargo Antitrust Litigation Comes in for a Landing | Global Trade Magazine
  May 23rd, 2016 | Written by

Long-Running Air Cargo Antitrust Litigation Comes in for a Landing

Final Settlements Made with Holdout Defendants Air India and Air New Zealand

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  • Plaintiffs in air cargo antitrust litigation recovered more than $1.2 billion in settlements.
  • Air India and Air New Zealand, the last two defendants in air cargo antitrust class action, agreed to settle.
  • Polar Air and Air China earlier settled in air cargo class action, leaving only Air India and Air New Zealand.

Air India and Air New Zealand, the last two defendants remaining among nearly three dozen air carriers sued for antitrust violations, have agreed to settlements of $12.5 million and $35 million, respectively.

Those settlements bring the decade-long class action litigation to a conclusion. The plaintiffs’ cumulative recoveries in the air cargo shipping services litigation exceed $1.2 billion.

“After more than a decade of relentless effort, we are pleased to add these final settlements to our existing recoveries and achieve justice for those impacted by the defendants’ alleged anticompetitive practices,” said Hollis Salzman, an attorney with the Robins Kaplan law firm and co-lead counsel for the plaintiff class.

Many of the world’s largest airlines were named in the civil class action lawsuit, which was scheduled for trial in September of 2016 in a federal court in New York.

The legal action was originally brought in February 2006 over an alleged global conspiracy to artificially inflate the price of air cargo services. Eight years later, the plaintiffs had accumulated settlements $750 million. A year after that, total recoveries topped $1 billion.

In October 2014, a federal magistrate recommended the certification of a class of direct purchasers. In July 2015, the court certified the class. In August of last year, the court denied the remaining defendants’ motions to dismiss the case without trial and set a court date for September.

Earlier this year, Polar Air and Air China settled with the plaintiffs, leaving Air India and Air New Zealand as only remaining defendants.

In criminal antitrust probes running parallel to the civil case, 21 different air cargo providers pleaded guilty and have agreed to criminal fines of more than $1.8 billion.

The Air India and Air New Zealand settlements are subject to final approval by the court. The civil litigation, titled In re Air Cargo Shipping Services Antitrust Litigation, is pending before the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York in Brooklyn.

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