British Airways reportedly airbrushed arch-rival Richard Branson out of its in-flight version of Casino Royale.

The Virgin Atlantic chief is briefly featured in the 007 film at an airport security scanner, but - in the edited version - can only be seen from the back.

Shots of the tail fin of a Virgin plane have also been obscured, sources said.

A spokesman for BA said only that it "previews films before they are screened on our aircraft and regularly edits films" on the grounds of taste and suitability.

"We edit our in-flight films to remove material that might upset our customers," the spokesman explained.

Spats between the two carriers go back a long time.

Last year, Virgin Atlantic was named as having provided US and UK authorities with information that triggered an inquiry into alleged airline price-fixing in passenger fares and fuel surcharges involving BA.

The latest 007 film broke worldwide box office records for a Bond movie. It also earned Daniel Craig a Bafta nomination for best actor.

Virgin apparently appeared in the film because it had helped the film's producers get a plane to Prague where some of the scenes were shot.