Lufthansa reaches settlement with Deutsche Bahn to end cargo cartel dispute

posted on 28th August 2019 by Justin Burns
Lufthansa reaches settlement with Deutsche Bahn to end cargo cartel dispute

Deutsche Bahn (DB) has reached a settlement with Lufthansa over an air cargo cartel legal dispute that has been going on since 2013.

The settlement ends the companies’ dispute before the Regional Court of Cologne. The cartel which Lufthansa was part of, the European Commission set the levels of fuel and security surcharges from late 1999 to early 2006.

The settling parties are DB Barnsdale, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn, and Lufthansa Group companies – Lufthansa Cargo, Swiss International Air Lines and Deutsche Lufthansa.

Both Lufthansa and DB mutually agreed between that further details concerning the settlement remain strictly confidential.

“After intense negotiations with Lufthansa, we were able to find a good solution for both sides,” said Martin Seiler, member of the management board of DB for human resources and legalaAffairs. “Instead of continuing costly legal proceedings for years to come, it would be in the interests of all sides if we were able to reach an agreement with the remaining cartelists.”

In 2010, the European Commission and various other antitrust authorities across the world imposed fines totaling almost €800 million against 11 air cargo carriers (Air Canada, Air France-KLM, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Cargolux, Japan Airlines, LAN Chile, Martinair, SAS, Singapore Airlines and Qantas).

The Commission alleges that a price fixing cartel in operation from late 1999 to early 2006 set the levels of fuel and security surcharges. This led DB Barnsdale to pursue damage claims on behalf of DB Schenker, several other freight forwarders and shippers who assigned their claims to the company.

In 2013, the company filed an action for damages at the Regional Court of Cologne against the air cargo carriers involved in the cartel. Prior to agreeing to the settlement with Lufthansa, DB Barnsdale had already reached settlements with Singapore Airlines, Air France-KLM, Qantas and SAS.

Six defendants still remain in the proceedings before the Regional Court of Cologne: Cargolux, Cathay Pacific, LAN Chile/LATAM, Air Canada, British Airways and Japan Airlines.