EU re-imposes $835 million cartel fine on air cargo firms

BRUSSELS (AP) " The European Union on Friday re-imposed a fine on 11 air cargo companies totaling $835 million after the original decision was thrown out by a high court on a procedural issue.

After the initial fine had been annulled in 2015, the European Commission said Friday it fixed the original error and decide to re-establish the fines since the EU's General Court never rejected the antitrust case as such.

The Commission found that the companies colluded to fix the level of fuel and security surcharges between 1999 and 2006.

Among the 11 companies, Air France was fined $197 million and its strategic partner KLM $137 million.

"Air France-KLM will analyze the new decision, and the advisability of appealing it," the group said in a statement. It added the fines had already been fully covered in its financial accounts since 2010, when the initial EU decision came in.

Another of the companies, Scandinavian Airlines, maintained that its division SAS Cargo had not participated in the global cartel, and that it will appeal the decision.

"We strongly question the European Commission's move to re-impose a decision that has already been annulled once," SAS spokeswoman Marie Wohlfahrt said. "SAS takes the competition rules extremely seriously and does not accept any breaches. We have a clear regulatory framework in place for compliance with competition law."

The Stockholm-based carrier said its 70.2 million euro fine will be recognized as a non-recurring expense in its earnings for the second quarter of 2016/2017.

British Airways now faces a $112 million fine.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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