Korean Air agrees to pay US$65 mln to settle class action lawsuit

SEOUL, Aug. 16 (Yonhap) -- Korean Air Lines Co., South Korea's largest flag carrier, said Friday it has agreed to pay US$65 million to settle a class-action lawsuit by U.S. passengers over alleged price fixing.

Korean Air said it will pay US$39 million in cash and $26 million in coupons to a group of people who claim that the carrier conspired with Asiana Airlines to establish artificially high prices for air passenger travel between South Korea and the U.S. from January 2000 through August 2007.

"If you bought a qualifying ticket between January 1, 2000 and August 1, 2007, you may be entitled to cash and coupons for future air passenger travel as part of the Settlement," according to information posted on the authorized website for the litigation.

Korean Air said it reached an agreement with the plaintiffs in July for a quick and smooth resolution of the lawsuit, though it said the agreement has nothing to do with whether it recognizes the alleged price fixing.

A U.S. court hearing has been scheduled for Dec. 2 for a final approval of the settlement by the Korean company.

In 2011, the court approved the prior settlement with Asiana Airlines, South Korea's No. 2 carrier, according to the website, which is supervised by counsel and the court and is controlled by Rust Consulting, an independent settlement administrator.

Separately, Korean Air said it has been paying a $300 million fine in installments, which was imposed by the U.S. Department of Justice over criminal antitrust violations. The carrier declined to give details on how much it has paid so far.

Last year, Korean Air posted a net profit of 169 billion won ($152 million).

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