UPDATE 3-Air France-KLM, 10 others win fight against EU cargo cartel fines

Wed Dec 16, 2015 11:49am EST
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* General Court says grounds of EU decision contradictory

* Airlines also facing damages claims due to cartel decision

* BA, Japan Airlines, Singapore Airlines also in EU ruling (Adds Commission comment, updates Air France-KLM shares)

By Michele Sinner and Foo Yun Chee

LUXEMBOURG, Dec 16 (Reuters) - Air France-KLM and 10 other airlines won a challenge against almost 800 million euros ($874 million) in fines for fixing air freight charges after Europe's second highest court said it had found contradictions in the EU decision.

The European Commission said in a 2010 finding that 11 air cargo carriers fixed surcharges for fuel and security costs from December 1999 to February 2006, acting as a global cartel.

Air France took the biggest hit with a fine of 182.9 million euros while KLM came in second at 127.2 million euros. The two carriers merged to form Air France-KLM in 2004. British Airways' penalty stood at 104 million euros.

The EU decision has since made the carriers a focus of damages claims from companies such as Germany's Deutsche Bahn , carmaker BMW and car supplier Bosch.

The airlines subsequently challenged the EU antitrust enforcer's decision. Judges agreed with their arguments on Wednesday, annulling the EU competition enforcer's fines.   Continued...