British Airways is to pay a record fine of nearly $250 million after admitting price fixing on fuel surcharges on its long-haul flights.

It is the biggest-ever penalty imposed for infringements of competition law by the British Office of Fair Trading, which said this morning that it demonstrates its determination to “deal vigorously” with anti-competitive behaviour.

But BA faces further bad news this afternoon, with a separate fine due to be imposed on the group this afternoon by the US Department of Justice.

The airline had admitted that, between August 2004 and January 2006, it colluded with Virgin Atlantic over the surcharges added to ticket prices in response to rising oil prices.