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British Airways to Pay $89.5 Million to Settle Antitrust Suits

British Airways agreed to pay $89.5 million to hundreds of freight customers to settle a group lawsuit in the U.S. over its involvement in a global price- fixing cartel.

The deal, which must be approved by a judge in New York, will resolve claims by companies that purchased shipping services from British Airways during the cartel that lasted from 2000 through 2006, the customers’ law firm Hausfeld LLP said today in a statement.

“We will continue our efforts to pursue recoveries for the huge number of victims of this cartel both in the U.S. and around the world,” Michael Hausfeld, a lawyer for the freight shippers, said in the statement.

British Airways, Air France-KLM (AF) Group and nine other carriers were fined a total of 779.4 million euros ($1.15 billion) in November 2010 by European Union regulators for coordinating air-cargo fuel and security surcharges. The London- based carrier pleaded guilty to price fixing to authorities in the U.S., Australia and Canada and was later fined by a South Korean regulator.

“We are pleased that we have reached a settlement over these claims made by cargo customers in the U.S.,” British Airways spokesman Euan Fordyce said today in a phone interview.

British Airways is part of the International Consolidated Airlines Group SA, after the company completed its merger with Spain’s Iberia in January.

The case is In re: Air Cargo Shipping Services Antitrust Litigation, 06-MD-1775 (JG) (VVP), U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn).

To contact the reporter on this story: Erik Larson in New York at elarson4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net

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