United, All Nippon Airways and Continental apply for antitrust immunity
All Nippon Airways (ANA), United Airlines and Continental Airlines filed (23-Dec-2009) an application with the US Department of Transportation for antitrust immunity to enable the three carriers to create a "more efficient and comprehensive trans-Pacific network, generating substantial service and pricing benefits for consumers". The trans-Pacific JV - the first of its kind between the US and Asia - would "also enable United, ANA and Continental to compete more effectively with other global alliances, each of which has a significant presence in Tokyo", according to the applicants. United, ANA and Continental will jointly manage trans-Pacific activities, including scheduling, pricing and sales, subject to DoT approval.[more]
The Japanese Government has stated it expects the US to rule on antitrust applications by Oct-2010 prior to enacting a landmark new aviation agreement outlined earlier this month. JAL is also expected to seek immunity after deciding whether to stay in the oneworld alliance with existing partner American Airlines or move to Delta's SkyTeam Alliance (Dow Jones, 24-Dec-2009).