BA, Virgin fixing the price-fixing

The tail of a British Airways aircraft


Doug Krizner: British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have tentatively agreed to settle charges of price-fixing. As Stephen Beard reports from London, these airlines will return $200 million to customers who flew between the U.S. and the U.K.

Stephen Beard: British Airways colluded with Virgin Atlantic in setting its fuel surcharge. BA's already been fined half a billion dollars for the offense.

Now after a class-action lawsuit in the U.S., passengers have a chance to collect. They could get a refund of $20 a flight. Anyone who flew with either airline between August 2004 and March 2006 is eligible.

Kieran Daley of Air Transport Intelligence says BA will be kicking itself -- there was absolutely no need to fix prices with Virgin:

Kieran Daley: It's a stupidly unnecessary situation to have got themselves into. The reality is that air fares track each other incredibly closely all the time.

Even more galling for BA was the fact that its old rival Virgin didn't pay any fines in the case, because Virgin blew the whistle alerting the regulators to the price-fixing.

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

About the author

Stephen Beard is the London Bureau Chief, providing daily coverage of Europe’s business and economic developments for the entire Marketplace portfolio.


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