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EU: Airlines’ $864M antitrust fine reversed

 |  December 17, 2015

The EU’s lower court on Wednesday reversed an $864 million antitrust fine levied against several air cargo carriers by the European Commission, finding the regulator’s decision was both contradictory and “internally inconsistent.”

In 2010 – after years of unannounced inspections and a tip-off from Lufthansa Cargo – the commission found “a single and continuous” infringement of EU competition rules relating to fuel and security fees charged by a number of air cargo carriers, including Air Canada, Air France-KLM, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines and Qantas.

The commission fined the carriers a combined $864 million except Lufthansa, which was granted immunity for the tip-off.

But the carriers appealed, arguing that the commission’s decision was so vague they couldn’t tell the nature and scope of the infringements they were accused of. Specifically, the decision mentioned four violations on different routes and at different times by different carriers, while the commission relied on grounds that the violation was single, worldwide, continuous, and included all routes.

In 13 similar opinions issued Wednesday, the European General Court overturned the commission’s decision and annulled the fines – agreeing with the carriers that the decision was inconsistent and contradictory.

Full content: Courthouse News Service

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