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Airlines guilty of collusion on fuel surcharges

In a move that should surprise absolutely no one who’s been paying attention (not to mention paying too much in transatlantic fuel surcharges), Britain’s Office of Fair Trading and the U.S. Department of Justice have fined British Airways $550 million this week for colluding with Virgin Atlantic over fuel surcharges.

While the two airlines have copped to anticompetitive behavior, both deny that any passengers were overcharged. The AP says, “In a statement, [British Airways] said that between August 2004 and January 2006 it colluded with Virgin Atlantic over the surcharges added to fares in response to rising oil prices. Under the Office of Fair Trading’s leniency policy, Virgin Atlantic is not expected to face a fine because it reported the alleged misconduct to authorities.”

So, to recap: British Airways will pay a fine, Virgin will get off scot-free, and the rest of us—well, we’re just supposed to be grateful the insanity has finally stopped. Yep, that sounds about par for the course.

Me? I’d prefer a cut of that $550 million fine.

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