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Three Air Cargo Companies Agree to Pay $100 Million to Settle Price-Fixing Litigation

Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings Inc. and its affiliates, Polar Air Cargo and Polar Air Cargo Worldwide Inc., have agreed to pay a total of $100 million to settle price-fixing litigation brought in 2006, the law firm Hausfeld said.

The three companies and about two dozen of their airlines are alleged to have conspired to fix the price of shipping goods by air to and from the United States.

“We are committed to the highest standards of ethics and governance. It is important to put this legacy matter behind us and focus our full attention on the continued execution of our strategic growth initiatives," Atlas CEO William Flynn said in a statement. "Our business continues to generate substantial cash flows, and we look forward to capitalizing on the significant opportunities ahead to deliver value for our shareholders, employees and customers.”

This will be the second-largest payment from any settlement in the litigation, trailing the $115 million Korean Air paid. Settlements now total over $1.1 billion, Hausfeld said.

The plaintiffs allege that the cartel increased global shipping prices, Hausfeld said.

“We are very proud of what we have accomplished in this case over the past 10 years, most importantly the significant compensation we have obtained for victims of this worldwide cartel,” Hausfeld  partner Brent Landau said in a statement.

Hausfeld said the case continues against three remaining airlines: Air China, Air India and Air New Zealand.

Last year, the district court granted certification of a class of direct purchasers of air cargo shipping services, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit declined to hear an interlocutory appeal of that ruling, the law firm said.

In addition, the district court denied the defendants’ motions for summary judgment and granted summary judgment motions filed by the plaintiffs, the law firm said, adding that a trial is set for September.

Nearly half of the original defendants in the civil action brought by Hausfeld and other law firms in February 2006 have pleaded guilty price-fixing, Hausfeld said.

Atlas Air Worldwide said it is a leading global provider of outsourced aircraft and aviation operating services. It is the parent company of Atlas Air and Titan Aviation Holdings Inc., and is the majority shareholder of Polar Air Cargo Worldwide Inc. Through Atlas and Polar, Atlas said it operates the world's largest fleet of Boeing 747 freighter aircraft.

By Transport Topics


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