17 May 2007 | Gareth Mytton
The Office of Fair Trading has ended an investigation into British Airways' discounts for corporate travellers.
The watchdog decided there was "a lack of consumer benefit in taking this case forward. This was primarily because of a lack of evidence indicating that BA's deals were likely to have a substantial foreclosure [anti-competitive] effect."
The investigation, which began in 2003, examined BA's practice of offering upfront discounts for specific routes and back-end aggregate rebates. The latter are rebates to customers when their spend with BA passed a threshold.
Less than 10 per cent of BA's passengers are affected by these discounts, according to the OFT.
Last year, the watchdog published "prioritisation criteria" to decide whether to take up cases, proceed with them, or encourage organisations to seek alternative routes to settle disputes.
"Following the publication of the criteria, there was an expectation that OFT would reduce the number of cases that it was handling," said Alex McIntosh, partner at law firm Clyde & Co.