British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have been cleared of a $235 million fine imposed in Nigeria for alleged price fixing on flights from London.

A judicial appeal panel set up by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority ruled that the two airlines had not breached any of the country’s law.

The panel yesterday held that the NCAA could not take action on a matter that was alleged to have been committed as far back as 2004.

“Unfortunately, the panel could not uphold the fines and other sanctions because the violation occurred between August 2004 and March 2006, whilst the provision of the law at that time prescribes a penalty of cease and deceased order,” it said.

Both carriers disputed the fines imposed in November – $135 million on BA and $100 million on Virgin – for alleged abuse of a dominant position on the London-Lagos route.