Polar Air Cargo and Atlas Air Reached Settlement Agreement in U.S. Cargo Antitrust Class Action - Global Trade Magazine
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  January 19th, 2016 | Written by

Polar Air Cargo and Atlas Air Reached Settlement Agreement in U.S. Cargo Antitrust Class Action

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  • Atlas Air CEO, on $100 million antitrust settlement: “It is important to put this legacy matter behind us.”
  • The class action lawsuit filed in 2006 alleged a multi-year cargo price-fixing conspiracy among 30 airlines.
  • A trial is set for January 25 against the remaining defendants in U.S. air cargo price-fixing case.

Polar Air Cargo and Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings have entered into a settlement in an antitrust class action lawsuit in the United States.

The companies will pay $100 million in three installments through January 2018 as part of the settlement. They continue to deny any wrongdoing or liability, and there is no admission of any wrongdoing or liability in the settlement agreement.

“It is important to put this legacy matter behind us and focus our full attention on the continued execution of our strategic growth initiatives,” said William J. Flynn, President and Chief Executive Officer of Atlas Air Worldwide. “Our business continues to generate substantial cash flows, and we look forward to capitalizing on the significant opportunities ahead to deliver value for our shareholders, employees and customers.”

The settlement resolves all claims against the companies by participating members in the class action.

The industry-wide litigation arose from allegations about the pricing practices of a number of air cargo carriers on routes to and from the United States from January 2000 through September 2006.

The lawsuit, filed in 2006 on behalf of a class of direct purchasers of air cargo shipping services, alleged a multi-year conspiracy perpetrated by more than thirty airlines around the world. After reaching settlements of more than $1 billion with twenty-seven of these airlines, including Singapore Airlines, China Air, Asiana, Cathay Pacific, EVA Airways and Korean Air, the plaintiffs won the right to proceed as a certified class against the remaining defendants.

A trial is set for later this months against the remaining defendants, which include Air China, Air China Cargo, Air India, and Air New Zealand.

Twenty-three defendants have pleaded guilty to their role in the conspiracy under a U.S. Department of Justice probe. Over 20 airlines have been identified as conspiracy participants in the European Union, and other airlines have been prosecuted in other areas of the world, including Canada, Korea, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.