The expansive British Airways (BA) made a humiliating public climb-down, apologising and paying damages to its smaller rival, Virgin Atlantic Airways, over a “dirty tricks” campaign. Virgin and its owner, Richard Branson (above), were given an “unqualified” public apology by British Airways and received libel damages of £610,000 (Dh3 million), with £500,000 of that going to Branson. BA and its retiring chairman, Lord King of Wartnaby, also face an estimated £3 million bill for legal costs. The BA humiliation comes at a particularly sensitive time for the airline, which is seeking to expand its international role by buying into airlines in France, Australia and the United States. George Carman, acting for Branson and Virgin, told a high court hearing that competition with BA was fierce. George Carman, acting for Branson and Virgin, told a high court hearing that competition with BA was fierce after Virgin began operating some services from Heathrow, in addition to Gatwick, in July 1991. Branson publicly accused British Airways of attempting to undermine his business by cold calling Virgin passengers offering an upgrade if they switched airlines and using private detectives to spy on the Virgin boss’s home life.
Other important events:
1805 Michigan Territory is created by an act of the United States Congress.
1866 Streamship ‘London’ is wrecked en route to Australia, 231 people die.
1935 Aviator Amelia Earhart becomes the first woman to fly solo across the Pacific Ocean.
1943 Britain and United States relinquish extraterritorial rights in China.
1960 Chad declares independence from France
1962 Avalanche buries village in the Peruvian Andes, 3,000 people are reported killed.
1964 Panama ends diplomatic relations with US.
1966 Indian Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri dies.
1972 East Pakistan renames itself Bangladesh.
1975 The Soviet Union launches Soyuz 17, carrying the first two cosmonauts to visit the space station Salyut 4.
1976 President Rodriguez Lara of Ecuador is ousted in a coup.
1977 France sets off an international uproar by releasing Abu Daoud, a Palestinian suspected of involvement in the massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics.
1982 Honduras adopts constitution.
1986 The Gateway Bridge, Brisbane in Queensland, Australia is officially opened.
1992 Algerian President Chadli Benjedid resigns.
1994 The Irish Government lifts the 15-year broadcasting ban on the IRA and Sinn Fein.
1995 An Intercontinental Aviation DC-9 with at least 52 people aboard crashes near Cartagena, Colombia, with only one survivor.
1996 Ryutaro Hashimoto becomes prime minister of Japan.
1998 An armed gang attacks two villages outside Algiers, Algeria, slaughtering 120 people.
1999 Haiti’s President Rene Preval dissolves parliament after a 22-month impasse with no working government.
2002 China signs agreements to boost economic ties with Bangladesh.
2005 High waves and strong winds whip the coast of the UAE.
2007 Vietnam becomes the 150th member of the World Trade Organisation.
2008 Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man to scale Mt Everest, dies at the age of 88.
2010 Six Nato service members, including three Americans, are killed in Afghanistan.
2012 Iranian nuclear scientist Mustafa Ahmadi Roshan is killed in a car bomb attack in Tehran.
2013 The UAE’s first atlas based on satellite images from DubaiSat 1 has been launched by the Emirates Institute for Advanced Science and Technology (EIAST).
2014 Former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon dies after eight years in coma.
2015 At least 57 people are killed in bus-oil tanker crash in Khairpur, southern Pakistan.