Bacardi, one of the largest privately held spirits companies in the world is suing American Airlines for the disappearance of over $65,000 worth of French brandy last year.
Bacardi USA, the American division of the Spanish liquor manufacturer, stated in its lawsuit that twenty-four pallets containing 1,680 cases of cognac, a type of brandy from the Cognac region of France, were loaded onto an American Airlines flight in Paris and that when the shipment arrived at Los Angeles International Airport, six pallets and three cases were missing.
While not directly accusing American Airlines of stealing the French cognac, it contends that the airline carrier is responsible for the cargo which was in its possession.
The lawsuit, filed on Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Pasadena, California states, “While in the possession, custody, and control of [American Airlines], six pallets and three cases were lost or stolen.”
Each of the six pallets had about 70 cases of liquor, which equates to over 400 missing cases. In the lawsuit, Bacardi said that the missing alcohol is worth $65,820.
Bacardi owns three brands of cognac under the Otard, D’ussé Cognac and Gaston De LaGrange labels.
Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, cargo such as the Bacardi shipment has become a bigger business for American Airlines and other air carriers, bringing in an estimated
$1.3 billion in revenue in 2021. That figure is over double that of 2019, prior to Covid.
Due to reduced flights over the last two years, particularly international flights, airplanes have been less full and that left more room for cargo.
In 2020, when wide-body airplanes were not being used, American Airlines initiated ‘cargo-only’ flights. International flights took off between Dallas Ft. Worth and European destinations such as Frankfurt, Madrid, and Paris, all without passengers.
American Airlines, based in Ft. Worth, Texas, and Bacardi, whose U.S. headquarters is in Coral Gables, Fla., did not respond to a request for comment.