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British Airways, Lan Cargo Price-Fixing Accord Wins Approval

British Airways and Chilean carrier Lan Airlines SA were among the carriers to secure final court approval for settlements totaling $207 million in a lawsuit accusing them of fixing cargo-shipping prices.

U.S. District Judge John Gleeson in Brooklyn, New York, today signed off on the deals. The carriers were among dozens sued for allegedly fixing cargo prices by coordinating fuel surcharges worldwide. The settlements resolve claims from customers that used the airlines’ freight services from 2000 through 2006.

“I find the agreements to be fair, reasonable and adequate to the class,” Gleeson said in his order.

British Airways agreed to pay $89.5 million while Santiago-based Lan and Brazilian partner Aerolinhas Brasileiras SA will pay a combined $66 million. Other carriers involved in the settlement include Malaysia Airlines, South African Airways Ltd., Saudi Arabian Airlines Ltd., Emirates Airline, El Al Israel Airlines Ltd. and Air Canada.

Today’s approval marks the third wave of settlements in the case, which have now reached a total of $485 million, according to court documents. The civil settlements follow earlier criminal investigations into the alleged air-cargo cartel by authorities in the U.S., South Korea and Australia.

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

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