Charges of price-fixing against one current and three former British Airways executives have collapsed after it emerged that the Office of Fair Trading withheld key documents from the defence.

The four BA-men were accused of fixing fuel surcharge prices with Virgin Atlantic between 2004 and 2006.

At Southwark Crown Court QC Richard Latham, speaking for the prosecution said that he would be offering "no evidence".

The judge, Mr Justice Owen, said that he wondered "whether the manifest failures on the part of the prosecution are such as to render a fair trial impossible".

The Office of Fair Trading failed to disclose an email which seemed to suggest that Virgin decided to increase its fuel surcharge without talking to BA representatives.

Speaking for the defence, William Boyce QC said that had the email been disclosed earlier it is unlikely the case would have come to trial.

The men on trial were Andrew Crawley, Head of Sales at BA, Martin George, former Commercial Director, Iain Burns, former Head of Communications and Alan Burnett, former UK and Ireland Sales Chief.