BRUSSELS (Reuters) - EU antitrust regulators are set to hand down hefty fines to Air France-KLM (AIRF.PA), British Airways (ICAG.L) and other carriers, more than a year after an EU court rejected a 2010 sanction totalling almost 800 million euros ($843 million), two people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.
The Luxembourg-based General Court, Europe’s second highest, said the European Commission’s 2010 decision on 11 air cargo carriers contained contradictions.
Air Canada C.TO, Martinair, Cargolux, Cathay Pacific Airways (0293.HK), Japan Airlines (9201.T), LAN Chile, SAS (SAS.ST) and Singapore Airlines (SIAL.SI) challenged the 2010 decision in court, while Qantas (QAN.AX) did not.
Lufthansa (LHAG.DE) alerted the cartel to the Commission, staving off a fine.
The EU competition enforcer attempted to settle the case with the airlines earlier this month but failed to reach a deal as the companies could not agree on a single set of conditions, the people said.
Commission spokesman Ricardo Cardoso declined to comment.
Air France received the biggest fine in 2010 at 182.9 million euros while KLM’s came to 127.2 million euros. They merged in 2004. British Airways took a 104 million euro hit.
The Commission’s 2010 decision triggered a series of damages claims against the airlines from companies such as Germany’s Deutsche Bahn [DBN.UL], carmaker BMW (BMWG.DE) and car supplier Bosch.
($1 = 0.9490 euros)
Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Mark Potter