Air France-KLM faces legal claims it fixed cargo rates

Image caption Air France-KLM has paid fines in the US for fixing air cargo rates

Air France-KLM and sister cargo carrier Martinair are being sued by hundreds of European companies, led by Ericsson and Philips, the firms' lawyer says.

The carriers face claims of up to 500m euros ($681m; £432m) in compensation for alleged air cargo price-fixing.

They say they were overcharged by 10% on international air freight between 2000 and 2007 because of an illegal price-fixing deal between airlines.

The case is being brought in Amsterdam with papers to be filed on Thursday.

Air France-KLM, which has declined to comment, paid a fine of $350m for conspiring to fix prices for air cargo rates, following a US Justice Department probe in 2008.

It also agreed to an $87m settlement of its civil liabilities in the US.


Litigation firm Claims Funding International (CFI) is representing the firms, and is paying their legal costs in return for a commission only if the lawsuit is successful.

"It is unfair that the airline would pay money to its US victims but not its European victims," said Peter Koutsoukis, CFI managing director.

He added that CFI had opted for court action only when Air France-KLM did not respond to a request for negotiations.

CFI said there were several hundred claimants in the action from 11 EU countries, and numerous industries including the pharmaceutical, automotive, electronics, food and fashion sectors.

Sweden's Ericsson has said it is one of the lead claimants, and CFI has named Philips Electronics as the other lead claimant.

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