ANA President, Shinichiro Ito, stated ANA and its Star Alliance partners, United Airlines and Continental Airlines would file for antitrust immunity with US authorities this week (The Asahi Shimbun, 21-Dec-2009).
ANA, United Airlines and Continental Airlines to file for antitrust immunity this week
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Lufthansa and Etihad bedfellows - at last - but unions may make marriage a distant prospect
There can be no understating the symbolic change in mindset of Lufthansa agreeing to partner with Etihad. Lufthansa has spent the better part of a decade rallying against Gulf airlines to the press, lobbying in Europe's power corridors and seeking a range of aeropolitical measures to wind back new competitors. Etihad has been the prime target for its investment and ongoing top-ups in a range of European airlines including Lufthansa's home competitor, the failing airberlin. Despite that, it is not well known that the two have come close to a liaison before, suggesting that each sees an intrinsic logic in a relationship.
The partnership has potential to be more significant than Emirates-Qantas, Qatar-IAG or Etihad-AF-KLM. But for now it is limited in scope and caution should be exercised in extrapolating too far at this stage.
Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr is seeking new growth platforms that sidestep the flagship business' uncompromising unions who would seemingly prefer a status quo that exists only in memory. Their support will be necessary if the partnership is to work and grow. Then Lufthansa, which has rallied the Star Alliance and JV partners against Gulf airlines, will need to explain its change of heart. For now Lufthansa will not partner on Etihad's beyond-Abu Dhabi network, a move that would embrace the fundamental business plan of Etihad and peers. That upside remains a matter for speculation.
Emirates Athens-Newark fifth freedom adds to season of trans Atlantic disruption; a test for Trump
On 23-Jan-2017, the first full business day of the Trump administration, Emirates announced it would start Dubai-Athens-Newark service on 12-Mar-2017, with a daily 777-300ER. Emirates' 12-Mar-2017 launch of service will undoubtedly add to the list of complaints from the big three US airlines – American, Delta and United.
The list of potential protective targets is growing as the new Administration settles in: renewing the fight against Gulf fifth freedoms while pursuing a blockage of DOT's grant of a permit to Norwegian Air International; Gulf airlines in their home market; and unfair access in China.
It is difficult to see the US airlines winning all of their claims. At worst, their mounting complaints will result in the details being lost as the new administration under Trump eyes indisputable wins with infrastructure and non aviation transportation matters. The loudest voices may be ignored until there is a full government in place to wade through the complainers.