22-Jul-2010 9:27 AM

British Airways, American Airlines and Iberia confirm final regulatory approval from DoT

British Airways, American Airlines and Iberia confirmed (21-Jul-2010) they have received the final regulatory approval to operate a joint business on trans-Atlantic routes. The oneworld alliance airlines have been granted anti-trust immunity from the US Department of Transportation, following European Union approval on 14-Jul-2010. The airlines plan to launch the trans-Atlantic joint business this autumn and will co-operate commercially on flights between the EU, Switzerland and Norway and the US, Canada and Mexico. Fellow oneworld members Finnair and Royal Jordanian also received antitrust immunity from the US DoT. [more - airline joint statement]

British Airways: "This final approval is fantastic news for all three airlines and the oneworld alliance. We've waited 14 years to bring the benefits of the transatlantic joint business to our customers and level the playing field with the other two global alliances.... 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 for our competitors to use on services from Heathrow to the US," Willie Walsh, CEO. Source: Company statement, 21-Jul-2010.

American Airlines: "By working collaboratively, we will enhance our product offerings, strengthen our route networks and better position our airlines to compete in an ever-changing global aviation marketplace," Gerard Arpey, CEO. Source: Company statement, 21-Jul-2010.

Iberia: "I am convinced that consolidation is the best and only way to succeed in the airline industry, and the approval we have received today to create a joint business is a very important step towards this consolidation process," Antonio Vazquez, Executive Chairman. Source: Company statement, 21-Jul-2010.

oneworld warmly welcomed (21-Jul-2010) the final approval by the US DoT. The alliance stated the agreement now frees it to compete on a level playing field with the other global alliances. [more - oneworld]

oneworld: "This is a significant step forward in what is becoming a real breakthrough year for oneworld, freeing us to compete on equal terms in the world's most hotly contented aviation markets with our competitor alliances, who have been flying with the benefit of anti-trust immunity for many years. It will mean we can make oneworld even better. We'll be able to unlock even more of the customer value in our alliance," John McCulloch, Managing Partner. Source: Company statement, 20-Jul-2010.

The carriers' pilots unions - Allied Pilots Association (APA), British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA-BA Company Council), Sindicato Español de Pilotos de Lineas Aereas (SEPLA) and Suomen Liikennelentäjäliitto/Finnish Airline Pilots’ Association (SLL) - stated (21-Jul-2010) they have been working closely to develop a mutual approach to promoting the job security and career prospects of their members in the US and Europe. The unions have agreed to meet regularly and establish an ongoing exchange of information relevant to the proposed joint business agreement (JBA), including details of our collective bargaining agreements, national laws and regulations and current and proposed flying in the area covered by the JBA. They have also agreed to develop and implement a mutual approach to protect the interests of pilots.  [more - oneworld Cockpit Crew Coalition] [more - BALPA]

oneworld Cockpit Crew Coalition: "We acknowledge that our employers have a legitimate interest in seeking significant economic benefits from a JBA, which has also been described as a ‘virtual merger’ ─ including sharing revenue on specific routes, cooperating on pricing and jointly marketing their services. In turn, it is essential that our employers acknowledge our respective members' legitimate interests in job security and in ensuring the fair distribution of any economic benefits," Public statment, 21-Jul-2010.

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