British Airways is refusing to pay a £125.5 million fine for alleged fuel surcharge fixing four years after the penalty was imposed by the office of Fair Trading.
The airline continues to withhold the payment following the watchdog’s failure last year to bring a criminal cartel prosecution against four current and former BA executives.
The OFT’s case fell apart just days into the trial after the emergence of 70,000 new emails that should have been disclosed to the defence.
Willie Walsh, chief executive of BA parent company International Airlines Group, said he had no intention of paying the fine unless the OFT provided fresh evidence proving the airline’s wrongdoing.
“The OFT fine is still outstanding,” he told the Daily Telegraph. “We haven’t agreed any payment with them. We said we needed disclosure of the evidence before we could agree anything with them. But, given the way the criminal trial collapsed, we don’t believe there are any grounds for that level of fine.”
BA was accused by the OFT of conspiring with executives at Virgin Atlantic to fix the fuel surcharge element of ticket prices. Virgin Atlantic was granted immunity from prosecution, with three of its executives, including chief executive Steve Ridgway, called as witnesses for the OFT.
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