British Airways has been fined £90m for its part in an airline cartel that fixed cargo prices by bringing in fuel surcharges.
The European Commission handed down the punishment to BA, which follows penalties inflicted on the company in America, Canada and Australia.
Air France and Dutch carrier KLM were among other airlines also fined by the EC. Air France was fined the most - about £159m - and in total the airlines involved were fined about £700m.
The Commission said BA and the other carriers co-ordinated their action on fuel surcharges over six years from December 1999 to February 2006. The carriers contacted each other so as to ensure that worldwide air freight carriers imposed a flat rate surcharge per kilo for all shipments.The cartel members extended their co-operation by introducing a security surcharge and refusing to pay a commission on surcharges to their clients (freight forwarders).
The European Commission said the aim was to ensure that all carriers applied the surcharges and that any increases or decreases of the surcharge levels were equally applied, in full, but all in the cartel.