British Airways and American Airlines face challenge to immunity extension: Europe share wrap

The US Department of Justice (DoJ) has deemed the proposal for antitrust immunity between American Airlines and British Airways, as well as other members of the oneworld alliance, as potentially harmful to competition on trans-Atlantic routes.

The DoJ stated competition could be affected on up to six trans-Atlantic routes, servicing 2.5 million passengers p/a, including New York-London, Boston-London and Chicago-London and recommended that the carriers surrender some takeoff and landing slots at congested airports or make concessions on highly concentrated routes.

American Airlines disagreed with the findings, and still expects the US Department of Transportation to approve its pricing and route alliance with British Airways in a “timely manner.” Also included in the anti-trust immunity proposal are Iberia, Finnair and Royal Jordanian.

Shares in British Airways gained 2.4% yesterday, while Iberia rose 1.0%, while Finnair remained flat.

Aer Lingus appoints Interim Chief Financial Officer

Shares in Ireland’s Aer Lingus rose 1.4% yesterday. The carrier announced the appointment of Andrew Macfarlane as Interim Chief Financial Officer. Mr Macfarlane (53) will join the Group with immediate effect. Most recently, Mr Macfarlane served as CFO of Rentokil Initial plc and his career has covered the leisure, business services, real estate and accounting sectors.

Elsewhere, Lufthansa closed 1.9% higher, Air France-KLM gained 1.3%, while Austrian Airlines dropped 5.4%.

Europe selected airlines daily share price movements (% change): 21-Dec-09