Northwest pleads guilty to cargo price fixing charges

Washington DC
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Northwest Airlines is entering a guilty plea and paying a $38 million fine for its role in a price fixing conspiracy, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced today.

Previously the carrier had its own cargo unit prior to its 2008 merger with Delta Air Lines.

According to a one-count felony charge filed in US District Court in Washington, DC, Northwest Airlines Cargo engaged in conspiracy to fix rates in the US and in international markets for air cargo shipments from at least July 2004 until at least February 2006.

The DOJ claims that Northwest cargo carried out the conspiracy by agreeing during meetings, conversations and communications on certain components of cargo rates for shipments on routes between the US and Japan, and levied cargo rates in accord with those agreements.

Under the plea agreement, Northwest has agreed to cooperate with the DOJ's ongoing antitrust investigation.

Earlier this week, American Airlines agreed to a $5 million settlement to resolve a class action lawsuit which was brought by shippers, but refused to acknowledge any wrongdoing.