British Airways today won its appeal against a Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) decision to award Virgin Atlantic Airways a second frequency to Cape Town in South Africa.
John Prescott, the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR), today overturned a CAA decision made in December 1999 and directed that the frequency should be awarded to British Airways.
The airline will use the frequency to take its service to Cape Town to daily flights.
British Airways will operate a Boeing 747-400 on the route making available about 30,000 more seats a year than the A340 aircraft which was offered by Virgin Atlantic Airways.
The Secretary of State found that the immediate benefits to consumers of greater capacity in a market that is severely capacity constrained in the peak season outweighed any benefits that might have resulted from allowing Virgin Atlantic Airways to strengthen its competitive position.
Chris Allen, the airline’s Head of Competition and Industry Affairs, said: “This is excellent news for our customers who will now have a choice of daily flights to Cape Town, which is consistently one of the airline’s top tourist destinations.
“We have been working for years to secure this opportunity and we are delighted that on this occasion the Secretary of State recognised the strength of the arguments in our appeal and found in our favour.”
British Airways will start services as soon as possible.