BA and other carriers facing probe over alleged fuel surcharge cartel

London
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By David Kaminski-Morrow in London

US and UK competition regulators are investigating alleged collusion between airlines including British Airways over the introduction of fuel surcharges.

The UK flag-carrier says that a probe by the US Department of Justice and the UK’s Office of Fair Trading centres on pricing of passenger air transport, including fuel surcharges.

British Airways commercial director Martin George has been given “leave of absence” during the investigation; along with communications chief Iain Burns.

A spokeswoman for the operator says that this probe is separate to the one launched earlier this year into alleged cartel activity in the airline cargo sector.

BA states that its policy is to “conduct its business in full compliance with all applicable competition laws” and says that it is “assisting” the regulators in their investigation.

BA's Oneworld alliance partner American Airlines has revealed that it is being asked to provide information as part of the investigation, but that it is not a subject of the probe.

“American Airlines has received a US federal grand jury subpoena in connection with a government investigation into alleged price-fixing in the air passenger industry,” says the US major.

“The airline has been informed that the company is not a target of the investigation.”