Virgin Atlantic CEO, Steven Ridgway, stated the carrier would continue to object to the proposed trans-Atlantic alliance between British Airways, American Airlines and other oneworld carrier partners, with the airline's, Sir Richard Branson, condeming the decision as a "kick in the teeth" for consumers (Dow Jones/City AM, 15-Feb-2010). The carrier believes that European competition concerns could still halt the agreement, but added that it could appeal against the decision if it does proceed. The US Department of Transportation granted tentative approval for antitrust immunity for the trans-Atlantic agreement on 13-Feb-2010. The DoT has opened a 45-day comment period on its initial decision. [more - Perspective]
Virgin Atlantic: “Millions of transatlantic travellers will be adversely affected if the alliance receives final approval. I urge the European Commission to continue its more consumer-focused approach when it takes its decision in the coming weeks,” Sir Richard Branson, President. Source: City AM, 15-Feb-2010.
Virgin Atlantic: "If Virgin Atlantic had been a public company today, our share price would have collapsed following the Department of Transport announcement on Saturday. As it is, British Airway's share price rose by 5% on the woefully inadequate terms laid down by the DoT. Clearly underlining the damage that will be done to competition and the travelling public, if this deal becomes legal. The DoT has given BA and American Airlines the ability to legally collude on prices and schedules and capitalize on their already dominant position," Sir Richard Branson, President. Source: Dow Jones, 15-Feb-2010.