Airline Deutsche Lufthansa AG said late Monday it would pay $85 million to settle pending class-action lawsuits in the U.S. that claimed it colluded to fix prices charged for hauling cargo.
The company said the settlement is subject to court approval and, pending approval, the Cologne-based airline, along with Swiss International Air Lines Ltd., would be released from the pending class actions.
Lufthansa said it has applied for leniency with the U.S. Department of Justice, the EU Commission for conditional immunity.
In February, more than a dozen airlines were drawn into an investigation by U.S. and European Union officials of suspected collusion in the air cargo industry to fix prices on surcharges for fuel, security and insurance.
European and U.S. officials refused to provide details about the probe. But one of the airlines targeted, SAS AB's SAS Cargo in Copenhagen, Denmark, said the EU alleged that cooperation among airlines began in 2000 and involved agreements about surcharges imposed by airlines to offset certain external costs.
SAS said the costs included surcharges on fuel, added security after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and premiums for war-risk insurance after the start of the war in Iraq.
Shares of Lufthansa rose 1.3 percent to close at 15.51 euros ($19.66) in Frankfurt trading.
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The settlement is subject to court approval and would release the airline from the pending class actions.
Qantas, the alleged major beneficiary from the price-fixing, declined to comment. Other airlines named in the action - Lufthansa AG, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd., Air New Zealand...
Unlike Lufthansa, both U.S. carriers said they are not required to make any payments.