February 10, 2012

British Airways and Virgin Atlantic escape Nigeria fine

Nigerian authorities have thrown out fines totalling $235m (£149m) against British Airways and Virgin Atlantic.

Nigeria's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) accused the two airlines of overcharging for flights to the nation and colluding over fares.

In November, it fined the carriers, but that punishment has been overturned by a judicial panel set up to review the case.

The airlines have denied the allegations.

In a statement British Airways said: "We are pleased that the appeal has been allowed."

"We have been flying there [Nigeria] for more than 75 years and pride ourselves on offering competitive fares, a choice of products and connections to our Nigerian customers."

But the head of Nigeria's CAA, Harold Demuren, said he would pursue the case.

"As far as we are concerned, the two airlines are guilty," he said.

Under the original punishment, British Airways was due to pay $135m and Virgin Atlantic $100m.

Under an agreement between the two countries, BA and Virgin share 21 return flights a week from Britain to Nigeria.

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