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Passengers won't feel BA fines

Officials think that the fines which were imposed on British Airways (BA) yesterday (August 2nd) for illegally inflating fuel surcharges will not harm passengers in the future.

Yesterday, BA was fined a total of around £270 million by the UK's Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and the US Department of Justice.

The airline was fined because it colluded with other airlines, including Virgin Atlantic, to increase fuel surcharges dramatically in 2004 and 2005.

However, speaking on BBC Two's Working Lunch, Sean Williams, an executive director for the OFT, said that he did not think passengers would face more expensive tickets as a result of the financial penalties.

He explained: "I think competition should restrain prices in the long-haul airline market … This fine will have to be paid by British Airways' shareholders.

"Now I can imagine that the shareholders and the employees and the customers are all going to be very unhappy about this, but we really can't have this kind of thing going on."

In the wake of the investigation, Virgin Atlantic - which escaped any fines because it bought the issue to the OFT's attention - said that none of its UK passengers had been overcharged as a result of the airline's action.

On BBC Radio 4's The World at One, the director of corporate communications for Virgin Atlantic, Paul Charles, said: "In the UK I think we can reassure customers that they have not been overcharged.

"They have not paid higher total ticket prices as a result of what took place since 2004."

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