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Airfreight: regulatory environment encourages or imposes price co-ordination?

Truxal, S. & Harris, S. (2013). Airfreight: regulatory environment encourages or imposes price co-ordination?. Journal of Air Law & Commerce, 78(3), pp. 541-582.


In its Airfreight Decision (COMP/39258), the European Commission fined 11 airlines approximately EUR 799 million for their participation in a price-fixing cartel. This Decision is of particular interest because the Commission awarded all carriers a reduction of 15% ‘on account of the general regulatory environment in the sector which can be seen as encouraging price co-ordination’. Airlines allege on appeal that, in regard to certain routes involving third country destinations, the regulatory environment did not simply encourage the prohibited behaviour but that it imposed this behaviour on the airlines. If this ground of appeal succeeds it would mean that the alleged collusion in regard to those routes did not constitute an infringement of Article 101 of the TFEU at all. This article first analyses reductions in fines under this category of mitigation applied in the past and then discusses the ‘general regulatory environment’, which may have led to the reduction in this case. Since the Commission and the European courts take a robust attitude in this area, the Commission’s concession of a 15% reduction in fines is particularly noteworthy. The article concludes by considering the strength of the airlines’ grounds of appeal based on evidence of the ‘regulatory environment’.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: Originally printed and presented in the Journal of Air Law and Commerce 78 J. Air L. & Com. 54 I. Reprinted in amended form with permission from the Journal of Air Law and Commerce and Southern Methodist University.
Publisher Keywords: airfreight, cargo, airline, cartel, price-fixing, European Commission
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
Departments: The City Law School > Academic Programmes
The City Law School > Institute for the Study of European Laws
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