Final Settlements with Holdout Defendants Bring Long-Running Air Cargo Antitrust Litigation in for Landing

Plaintiffs Recover More Than $1.2 Billion in Settlements Without a Trial

New York, NY—May 19, 2016—Robins Kaplan LLP® announced today that Air India and Air New Zealand—the last two defendants remaining among nearly three dozen air carriers sued in 2006 over a global conspiracy to artificially inflate the price of air cargo services—have agreed to settlements of $12.5 million and $35 million, respectively, bringing the decade-long litigation to a conclusion. The plaintiffs’ cumulative recoveries in In re Air Cargo Shipping Services Litigation surpass $1.2 billion.

“After more than a decade of relentless effort, we are pleased to add these final settlements to our existing recoveries and achieve justice for those impacted by the defendants’ alleged anticompetitive practices,” said Hollis Salzman, co-lead counsel for the plaintiff class and co-chair of the Antitrust and Trade Regulation practice group at Robins Kaplan. “The court correctly described this case as ‘irrefutably complex,’ and we were honored to pursue it on behalf of the victims of collusion among air cargo shipping providers."

Many of the world’s largest airlines were named in the civil class action lawsuit, which was scheduled for trial in September of 2016 in New York federal court. Milestone events that occurred during the litigation include:

  • February 2006: Complaint filed against approximately three dozen air carrier defendants.
  • February 2014: Partial settlements surpass $750 million.
  • October 2014: Magistrate recommends the certification of a plaintiff class of direct purchasers.
  • April 2015: Total recoveries top $1 billion.
  • July 2015: Court certifies a class of direct purchaser plaintiffs and appoints Robins Kaplan co-lead counsel.
  • August 2015: Court denies defendants’ motion for summary judgment, grants plaintiffs’ motions, and sets trial for 2016.
  • January - February 2016: Settlements with Polar Air, Air China Ltd., and others leave Air India and Air New Zealand as only remaining defendants.

In criminal antitrust probes running parallel to the civil case, 21 different air cargo providers have pleaded guilty and have agreed to criminal fines of more than $1.8 billion.

The Air India and Air New Zealand settlements are subject to final approval by the court. The civil litigation, titled In re Air Cargo Shipping Services Antitrust Litigation, MDL No. 1775, is pending before Judge Cogan and Magistrate Judge Viktor V. Pohorelsky in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Meegan Hollywood of Robins Kaplan also represented the plaintiffs.