British Airways (BA) global sales and marketing director Andrew Crawley and three former BA executives have pleaded not guilty to allegations of price-fixing over passenger fuel surcharges.

At a hearing at Southwark Crown Court yesterday, all four denied colluding with Virgin Atlantic over the surcharges. The three ex-executives are former head of communications Iain Burns, former UK head of sales Alan Burnett and former commercial director Martin George. Crawley was former head of sales at the airline. He has recently been promoted to the management board.

All the defendants were granted unconditional bail until the trial, which is scheduled for January.

The charges follow the Office of Fair Trading’s (OFT) criminal investigation into the price-fixing of fuel surcharges on long-haul flights. The OFT fined BA £121.5 million in 2007 after airline bosses admitted collusion with Virgin Atlantic in setting fuel surcharges between 2004 and 2006.

Meanwhile, the British Airways annual general meeting is set to take place today. Workers are expected to protest over job cuts and changes to their contracts.