PR disaster as BA & Virgin collude to keep the air fare (NOT!)

Disclosure statement: This report may be prejudiced due to the fact that BA lost my luggage for two days during my current travels and are almost impossible to contact to seek recompense!!

Copywriters working on the Virgin Airlines account are scrambling to develop new brand messages after the tattletale Branson company escaped fiscal punishment, by supergrassing that they secretly colluded with BA to fix long haul fuel tax charges. (As I´m travelling internationally at present, this is a subject of some poignancy to me right now).
British Airways has been fined a record £121.5m by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) after it admitted colluding to fix the prices of fuel surcharges.

BBC reports quote BA chief executive Willie Walsh (quite unashamedly) saying that, “Anti-competitive behaviour is entirely unacceptable and we condemn it unreservedly.” Before possibly adding “Especially when we´re caught red handed doing it.” Despite the palpable guilt, Walsh added, “I am satisfied that we have the right controls in place. However, it is deeply regrettable that some individuals ignored our policy.” So, a couple of exec sacrifices at BA are expected with commercial director, Martin George, and communications chief, Iain Burns – who had been on leave of absence since the inquiry began – having already quit the company.

Expert analysis from BBC business editor Robert Peston said that the collusion between BA and Virgin Atlantic was “as blatant a breach of competition law as it’s possible to imagine. This was not a careless accident. The two big birds… were not competing properly on price over an extended period: they were giving each other comfort that they would not undercut each other on the fuel surcharge.”

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2 thoughts on “PR disaster as BA & Virgin collude to keep the air fare (NOT!)

  1. Ta Paul; I also saw that baggage handling was supposedly at breaking point at BA Heathrow. When I lodged a complaint with Qantas, the reply email said they were experiencing abnormally high volumes of customer complaint traffic; Hmmmm, is it a security related issue I wonder, given that we almost have to strip to our jocks just to get to the departure lounge nowadays?

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