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US DoT approves American Airlines-British Airways-Iberia alliance

21-Jul-2010 11:28 AM

American Airlines, British Airways, and Iberia received (20-Jul-2010) final approval from the US Department of Transportation (DoT) to establish a joint business governing trans-Atlantic services and to expand their cooperation as a result of the DoT's recent decision to grant oneworld carriers antitrust immunity. oneworld members Finnair and Royal Jordanian also received antitrust immunity from DoT. The European Union approved the join business on 14-Jul-2010. Under the joint business agreement, the three airlines will cooperate commercially on trans-Atlantic service between the US, Mexico and Canada, and the EU, Switzerland and Norway while continuing to operate as separate legal entities. They will also expand codeshare arrangements on services within and beyond the US and EU. [more]

Separately, Dallas Fort-Worth International Airport (DFW) welcomed (20-Jul-2010) the approval, adding that it has already seen the benefits of oneworld cooperation, with British Airways replacing its daily B777 service from London Heathrow with larger B747 equipment. [more]

AMR Corp: "This is an important day for the customers, employees and shareholders of American Airlines and our joint business partners in the oneworld alliance. We are pleased that US and EU regulators have approved our long-sought-after alliance proposal....By working collaboratively with our oneworld partners, we will enhance our product offerings, strengthen our route networks, and better position our airlines to compete in the ever-changing global aviation marketplace." Gerard Arpey, Chairman and CEO. Source: Company Statement, 20-Jul-2010.

British Airways: "This is a great day for all three airlines and the oneworld alliance. We've waited 14 years to bring the benefits of the trans-Atlantic joint business to our customers and level the playing field with the other two global alliances. As we have argued all along, the EU-US market is highly competitive and Heathrow's liberalisation in 2008 opened it up even further. We are delighted that the US and EU authorities have recognised this. We're pleased that the DOT and EU have worked together to ensure that there is consistency in the number of slots that the three airlines have to give up to our competitors to use on services from Heathrow to the U.S. We made the pragmatic decision to give up these slot pairs so that we can start operating the joint business as soon as possible," Willie Walsh, CEO. Source: Company Statement, 20-Jul-2010.

Iberia: "We are delighted we have received approval for our joint business, as it will be very positive for our employees, our shareholders and, most important of all, for our customers. A new kind of collaboration among our three airlines will lead to better service levels for our customers. This means that our customers will have more destinations to choose from around the world, better scheduled travel times, better connections and more competitive fares. I am convinced that consolidation is the best and only way to succeed in the airline industry, and the approvals we have received to create a joint business are a very important step towards this consolidation process." Antonio Vazquez, Executive Chairman. Source: Company Statement, 20-Jul-2010.

DFW Airport: "This action finally levels the playing field for DFW, allowing American Airlines and its partners the same competitive advantages that other airline alliances and hubs have had for years ... The close cooperation this decision allows is vital to North Texas because of the consumer and economic benefits that it will bring to our region ... It will give our passengers additional connecting opportunities through Heathrow, and to some of the points that people in North Texas want to reach including India, the Middle East and Africa." Jeffrey P Fegan, CEO. Source: Company Statement, 20-Jul-2010.