US District Court Judge Miriam Cedarbaum dismissed today all outstanding claims raised by Virgin Atlantic Airways in its lawsuits against British Airways in the United States.
Virgin initially filed its lawsuit in October 1993 claiming British Airways had engaged in a broad array of supposedly anti-competitive activities. Virgin claimed $1billion in damages. Judge Cedarbaum dismissed five of the eight claims asserted by Virgin but permitted it to attempt to gather evidence to support three remaining claims. The process continued until the summer of 1997. British Airways then formally sought to have the remaining claims dismissed. That request was granted in the judge`s ruling today.
Bob Ayling, Chief Executive of British Airways, welcomed the court`s ruling and said: “Obviously we are delighted by Judge Cedarbaum`s decision today.
“British Airways is gratified by the considerable care and effort taken by the court. Judge Cedarbaum has comprehensively dismissed charges which we have always believed to be baseless and without merit in fact or in law. This is a great day for everyone at British Airways.
“This lawsuit was a throwback to an era of confrontation and litigation between Virgin Atlantic Airways and ourselves.
“We look forward to a continuation of spirited competition between the two carriers, one in which the flying public, and not the courts or regulators, determines the winner.”
The US court`s action followed an intensive search by Virgin`s lawyers through British Airways` files for some evidence to support its claims of anti-competitive behaviour.
Virgin`s lawyers read hundreds of thousands of pages of British Airways documents, interviewed numerous British Airways employees, and subpoenaed records from competing carriers as well.
Judge Cedarbaum ruled that Virgin had not satisfied its burden to produce evidence of any violations of United States law.