France blasts EU's 'discriminatory' fine against flag carrier
Issued on: Modified:
On Wednesday, France railed against the European Commission's "disproportionate" 340-million-euro fine against Air France-KLM for its role in a global cargo cartel.
European Affairs Minister Pierre Lellouche said he was "shocked by the totally disproportionate nature of this fine in terms of the losses potentially suffered by users of [the] freight service of the group's companies."
In a statement, he said the fine "will inflict considerable damage on the French air
sector and adds to losses suffered by the sector in 2009, in the context of the financial crisis."
Lellouche also said the fine was discriminatory, since it lets off the hook airlines that took part in the cartel but decided to co-operate with the investigation.
On Tuesday, the European Commission's competition watchdog smacked 11 airlines with almost 800 million euros in fines for running a global cargo gang that also included British Airways, Qantas, Air Canada and Japan Airlines.
French Secretary of State for Transport Dominique Bussereau said he was "completely aghast" by the penalty. He told reporters that he agreed with the company's decision to appeal the ruling.
The 11 cargo carriers coordinated their action on flights within the European Economic Area via surcharges for fuel and security without discounts between December 1999 and February 2006, the European Commission said.
Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morningSubscribe