British Airways has said it is continuing to examine a civil legal case which originally resulted in the carrier agreeing to pay a fine for price fixing to the Office of Fair Trading. It was originally agreed that BA would pay £121.5 million for its part in illegal price fixing with rival airline Virgin Atlantic.
The sum is the largest ever imposed by the watchdog and was seen as a major triumph back in August 2007. However, although BA has paid in full a fine issued for the same price fixing activity to the US Department of Justice for £183 million, it is still to pay the OFT imposed penalty.
The watchdog has set a payment deadline for the end of this year. A statement of objections will either see BA come up with the cash or officially challenge the fine. British Airways has said little, other than it continues to look at evidence. A criminal case brought against a group of airline executives by the OFT collapsed last year prompting BA to announce that it would be using the evidence from the trial to reassess its civil settlement obligations.
OFT boss, John Fingleton, said when asked about the possibility of BA withholding payment that he was not looking for a fight with the flag carrier. He added that the criminal case had no bearing on the civil action brought against the airline over price fixing.
The OFT said it had not changed its stance on the matter and had not revised the figure the airline was being asked to pay.