American Airlines Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: AAL) agreed to pay $45 million to settle an antitrust lawsuit that accused the four largest airlines of colluding to raise prices, according to a Friday court filing.
American would be the second of the four airlines to settle in this case, which started back in 2015. Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV) settled for $15 million, which was approved in January.
Delta Air Lines, Inc. (NYSE: DAL) and United Continental Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: UAL) are the other two airlines involved in the suit, which alleges the four airlines sought to limit the amount of passengers they would fly. By doing that, the suit alleges, capacity would be strained and prices would go up for everybody.
After filing the court document Friday, the Fort Worth-based airline maintained that it did nothing wrong, pointing out that American increased domestic capacity during the time period covered by the lawsuit. A spokesperson for the airline said the cost of defending itself in a suit like this often runs into the tens of millions of dollars.
“So while it is difficult to agree to a settlement when we believe we’re right on the law and the facts, settling this case is a prudent decision for American,” the spokesperson said.
In addition to the $45 million, American will help the plaintiffs as they pursue their case, including “making available for deposition up to three current American employees or former American employees,” the court document reads.