BA wins appeal in cargo case

BRITISH Airways (BA) yesterday won a high court battle to prevent hundreds of air cargo customers suing it in a US-style class action lawsuit.

Two UK flower importers that sued BA in 2008 cannot represent all direct and indirect customers of the carrier, because there was no way to know if they had the same interest in the case, the Court of Appeal in London ruled yesterday.

Justice John Mummery concluded the customers’ request for a so-called representative action was “fatally flawed.”

The companies, which claim they suffered a loss as a result of the airline’s involvement with a global cartel which fixed the price of air cargo, had wanted to bring a class-action suit on behalf of around 200 companies.

BA pleaded guilty in the US three years ago to being involved in the cartel and was fined $300m for its role in the separate conspiracies to fix both cargo rates and passenger fares.

Last week, BA alongside ten other airlines was fined €104m by the EU after an investigation into the air cargo cartel.

BA, which could still face individual claims, said in a statement: “We will continue to contest every class action brought by cargo customers.”