American Airlines will pay $5 million and provide evidence to shipper attorneys to settle a civil complaint that the airline took part in a conspiracy to fix cargo prices.
Officials at the airline said the settlement filed in federal court in New York did not include an admission of wrongdoing.
“The plaintiffs in the class action cargo price fixing litigation have added American Airlines as a defendant as a procedural matter only so that the court can review our proposed settlement with the plaintiffs,” American Airlines spokesman Tim Wagner said in a prepared statement.
“American Airlines has done nothing wrong, and the settlement makes clear that American is admitting no fault or liability. Litigation is an expensive and uncertain proposition and avoiding the cost and inconvenience of trial made paying the settlement the best financial decision for American.”
The lawsuit follows investigations in various countries around the world into allegations that airlines unlawfully conspired to fix prices and surcharges for international freight transport. Airlines have paid more than $1.5 billion in fines in the United States and a handful of cargo executives have gone to jail in cases handled by the U.S. Justice Department.
American and other U.S. carriers have not been named in those criminal cases, but the lawsuit filed on behalf of shippers seeks to cast a wider net. The attorney bringing that suit, Michael Hausfeld, said Air France-KLM recently agreed to pay $87 million to settle the case and the Lufthansa agreed to pay $85 million.
American said it has been cooperating in the investigations.
"We will continue to provide information to governments and civil plaintiffs as they pursue their investigations and lawsuits," Wagner said.