Rebates could follow airline price-fix claims

5 July 2006
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06 July 2006

Travel buyers may be entitled to a rebate if British Airways and other airlines are found guilty of alleged price-fixing over fuel surcharges.

The Office of Fair Trading is conducting a criminal and a civil investigation into the alleged "price co-ordination by airlines in relation to fuel surcharges for long-haul passenger flights to and from the UK". It has confirmed BA is among the airlines being scrutinised.

Paul Tilstone, executive director of the Institute of Travel Management, said a remedy may be required if airlines are found to have been overcharging buyers.

Many companies buy between 10,000 and 15,000 flights a year at an average of £350 a flight, so any rebate would "not be an insignificant amount of money," he said.

If BA is found guilty of breaching competition law it could be fined up to 10 per cent of its annual turnover of £8.5 billion. If found guilty in the criminal inquiry, it faces an unlimited fine and jail terms for those responsible.


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