Letter: BA not liable for Gulf hostages

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The Independent Online
Sir: In his piece about the Gulf war hostages ('Gulf war hostages sue Government', 24 March), Tim Kelsey reports the issue of a writ against the 'Foreign Office and other government departments'. He also refers to legal actions by passengers against British Airways in Britain, France and the US.

We have always had a high degree of concern and sympathy for BA's passengers and crews who were held against their will in Kuwait and Iraq at the time of the war and we did all we could to secure their release and get them home. We offered to pay for actual expenses incurred and for lost possessions. We have made payments to more than 450 passengers and crew.

BA's aircraft was caught up in the war through no fault of ours (nor, we believe, the Government's) and BA has no legal liability for what occurred. The only court decisions so far have been in Scotland, England and California, and in every case the action has been dismissed without trial and judgment entered in BA's favour.

Yours sincerely,

R. J. AYLING

Group Managing Director

British Airways

Heathrow Airport

Hounslow

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