SIA, 10 other airlines hit with S$1.2 billion fine by EU regulators for taking part in cargo cartel

Singapore Airlines was fined 74.8 million euros (S$1.1 billion) for taking part in an air cargo cartel more than a decade ago. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

BRUSSELS (REUTERS) - Singapore Airlines, Air France-KLM, British Airways and eight other airlines were hit with a 776 million euro (S$1.2 billion) fine by European Union (EU) antitrust regulators on Friday (March 17) for taking part in an air cargo cartel more than a decade ago.

The European Commission re-imposed the penalties after Europe's second highest court in 2015 annulled the EU executive's 2010 decision due to a procedural error.

The fines were unchanged for all the airlines except for the amount due from Martinair - cut to 15.4 million euros from the 29.5 million euro amount set in 2010.

Air France was fined 182.9 million euros, the highest, followed by KLM at 127.1 million euros, British Airways at 104.4 million euros, Cargolux at 79.9 million euros and Singapore Airlines at 74.8 million euros.

Other carriers penalised were Air Canada, Cathay Pacific Airways, Japan Airlines, LAN Chile and SAS.

Lufthansa, along with subsidiary Swiss International Airlines, escaped a fine as it alerted the cartel to the EU competition authority.

The Commission said it had fixed the procedural error cited by the court.

"Working together in a cartel rather than competing to offer better services to customers does not fly with the Commission," European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.

SAS said it would appeal against the new decision.

The Commission in its 2010 finding said the cartel fixed air freight services, fuel and security surcharges between December 1999 and February 2006.

The decision led to a series of damages claims against the airlines from companies such as Germany's Deutsche Bahn , carmaker BMW and car supplier Bosch .

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