15 class action lawsuits have been filed in district courts around the U.S. against United Airlines, American Airlines, British Airways, Air France-KLM, Lufthansa, and others for overcharging cargo fees.
Various corporations have filed these lawsuits complaining that the airlines conspired to impose and raise fuel and security surcharges on cargo shipped to and from the U.S. since 2000. For over six years, these airlines have charged thousands of dollars in additional and increased shipping surcharges. It is alleged that the airlines created a global scheme to fix fuel and security surcharges and used the 9/11/01 terrorist attacks as an excuse for coordinating price increases.
Complaints arose when businesses began to notice a trend of similar surcharge rates across all carriers verses competitive rates used to secure business in the past.
Price fixing (agreeing to impose certain costs and surcharges) and price gouging (charging a price that is higher than what is fair given current circumstances) can both be considered illegal in U.S. civil court. To investigate this international issue, the U.S. Justice Department, FBI, European Commission, and other Asian country agencies have been working together.
One class action lawsuit was filed in February 2006 by Fleurchem Inc. against nine international carriers across Europe, Asia, and Scandinavia. The suit claims these large cargo airlines violated antitrust laws and conspired to raising and/or fixing air cargo surcharges.
In another lawsuit, the plaintiff's claim that the airlines used Lufthansa's air cargo fuel index, Niagara Frontier Distribution, to share information about upcoming increases in fuel surcharges. Allegedly Lufthansa also led the way in pre-announcing other surcharges.
Air Cargo Price Fixing ArticlesGreedy Airline Cargo Carriers
The list of airlines under investigation in air cargo price fixing just gets longer. According to the European Commission (EU) more than 16 airlines have been requested to provide information about possible agreements on surcharges by the carriers to offset some external costs.
Airline Cargo Price Fixing in the NewsMAR-29-07: Subpoenae issued to Northwest Airlines in a probe of possible air cargo price fixing. [WLNS: AIR CARGO PRICE FIXING]
MAR-22-07: FBI raids Los Angeles office of Japan's All Nippon Airways Co. in an effort to investigate suspected cartel activities in the air cargo industry. [NICHI BEI TIMES: AIR CARGO ANTITRUST]
MAR-06-07: KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is facing steep fines over price fixing in the air-cargo market as European regulators raid airlines. [REUTERS: AIRLINE CARGO PRICE FIXING]
APR-20-06: US businesses are paying higher air cargo shipping costs as airlines are accused of price fixing. [PR WEB: AIR FREIGHT PRICE FIXING]
MAR-09-06: Eleven major international airlines have been sued by a Tanzanian law firm for fixing cargo surcharges. [AIRWISE POST: CARGO PRICE FIXING]
FEB-19-06: Cargo industry under investigation for alleged price fixing. [
FEB-15-06: Dozens of airline offices around the world were searched or contacted by U.S. and EU investigators searching for illegal price fixing in the air cargo business. [MSN NBC: AIRLINE CARGO PRICE FIXING]
FEB-14-06: US Justice Department investigating airline cargo price fixing. [FORBES: CARGO ANTITRUST]