Former BA execs charged over price-fixing case

Four past and present British Airways executives, including former commercial director Martin George, could face jail after it was revealed that they will face criminal prosecution relating to price fixing following an investigation by the Office of Fair Trading.

The men will face charges over a conspiracy between BA and virgin Atlantic to fix passenger fuel surcharges on transatlantic flights between 2004 and 2006.

The charges will be brought against George, BA’s head of sales Andrew Crawley, the airline’s former head of communications Ian Burns and Alan Burnett, former head of UK and Ireland sales. They could each face up to five years in prison if found guilty.

George and Burns resigned from BA in 2006 after details of the OFT investigation into price fixing came to light. At the time of his resignation, George sent a letter to BA’s chairman Martin Broughton, which stated that while he was not involved there may have been “inappropriate conversations” within his department that violated policy on long-haul fuel surcharges (MW.co.uk October 9, 2006).

The case resulted in fines of more than £270m for the airline. Virgin escaped punishment after admitting its part in the conspiracy.

BA and the OFT declined to comment.

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