El Al Settles U.S. Price-fixing Case

In settling for $15.8m as one of 39 carriers, Israeli firm admits no wrongdoing.

El Al Israel Airlines has agreed to pay $15.8 million to settle a class-action suit in New York over a claim that the company and 38 other carriers engaged in price-fixing in the United States on air cargo rates.

The settlement, which does not constitute an admission of wrongdoing by El Al, was disclosed in the company's first-quarter report released before the Shavuot holiday.

Formal approval of the settlement is subject to approval by a New York court; approval is expected in the next several months. The airline has already paid out $9.8 million of the settlement proceeds.

The remaining $6 million will be paid out in five installments of $1.2 million by the end of 2016.

The case began in 2007; a civil suit alleged that the 39 airlines had coordinated prices on cargo services since 2000 in violation of American and European law.

The suit, in an unspecified amount, was filed as a class action on behalf of direct and indirect purchasers of air cargo services in the United States and Europe.

According to the terms, the agreement represents a full settlement of any claims involving cargo pricing within the United States or to or from the United States at any time before the settlement.

In the first quarter, El Al suffered a loss of about $23.5 million, compared with a loss of nearly $43 million a year earlier.