21 May 2007 | Paul Snell
British Airways has set aside £350 million to pay any fines it may receive as a result of an investigation into a price cartel.
BA said it was taking the action because it had become apparent there had been breaches of the company's "comprehensive competition policy".
The Office of Fair Trading has been conducting a civil and criminal investigation into alleged "price co-ordination by airlines in relation to fuel surcharges for long-haul passenger flights to and from the UK" since June last year (Web news, 23 June 2006).
The airline said the £350 million represented the "best estimate" to settle any claims from the competition authority and civil actions. But it also said the final amount was "subject to uncertainty". The announcement was made in BA's full year results, which showed the company made £602 million profit last financial year, £92 million less than the year before.
The firm also believes its current costs will continue to rise. Martin Broughton, chairman of BA, said: "Cost control remains a key focus and full-year costs, excluding fuel, are still expected to be £50 million higher than the year just reported."