BA fines reach new heights

British Airways fines have now reached £270 million ($548 million) after the U.S. Department of Justice added $300m to the UK’s Office of Fair Trading fine of £121.5m.The fines are for colluding on how much extra to charge on passenger and cargo flights, to cover fuel costs. BA had held illegal talks with rival Virgin Atlantic. The surcharges were added to passenger fares in response to rising oil prices.

Meanwhile Virgin is expected to escape fines after it reported the collusion.

BA also faces the possibility of a legal challenge by customers in the UK and US. They believe they lost money as a result of the collusion.

Yesterday, British Airways’ chief executive, Willie Walsh said; “I want to reassure our passengers that they were not overcharged.  Fuel surcharges are a legitimate way of recovering costs.

“However this does not in any way excuse the anti competitive conduct by a very limited number of individuals within British Airways.

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“Anti-competitive behaviour is entirely unacceptable and we condemn it unreservedly.

“We have a long standing competition compliance policy which requires all staff to comply with the law at all times.  I am satisfied that we have the right controls in place. However, it is deeply regrettable that some individuals ignored our policy.”
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