BA may give up slots to aid open skies deal

BRITISH AIRWAYS is negotiating a deal with the Office of Fair Trading to give up take-off and landing slots at Heathrow in the hope of breaking the deadlock in open skies talks between the UK and US governments.

However, any surrender of slots by BA to rival US airlines would be tied to a phased implementation of its long-delayed alliance with American Airlines, probably starting with approval for the two airlines to start code-sharing on some transatlantic routes.

The next round of talks on open skies has been pencilled in for 6 July in Washington. UK negotiators hope to present a set of proposals that would allow a gradual increase in the number of US carriers allowed to fly into Heathrow.

The present bilateral agreement only allows four carriers - BA and Virgin from the UK and American and United Airlines of the US to operate services into Heathrow.

However, a whole raft of other US airlines, including Continental, Delta, Northwest and US Airways, are pressing for the right to fly to Heathrow. British Midland has also secured licences to fly from Heathrow to Miami, New York and Boston, which it cannot use until an open skies deal has been reached.

Stephen Wolf, the chairman of US Airways, warned yesterday that if an open skies agreement was not sealed in the next few months there would not be another chance for several years. He said the US and the UK "could be on the verge of an historic breakthrough". There was now a recognition on the part of the US government that there are physical limits to how far its carriers can expand at Heathrow, and an understanding by the UK government that meaningful access for US carriers means a sufficient number of slots being freed up.

US Airways is seeking up to 70 slots a week to operate services from Heathrow to Philadelphia, Charlotte, Pittsburgh and Boston. But with rival US carriers also jockeying for a place at Heathrow, any allocation of slots would need to be scaled back.

The European Commission's terms for approving the BA-AA alliance required the two carriers to surrender 267 slots at Heathrow.

Meanwhile BA yesterday said it had made a pounds 149m profit by selling its remaining stake in the airline ticket reservation system, Galileo. BA has sold its 6.76 per cent shareholding back to Galileo. Originally, BA had a 12 per cent shareholding in the system but it sold 5.3 per cent of this when the business was floated in July 1997.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SThree: Experienced Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £40000 per annum + OTE + Incentives + Benefits: SThree: Established f...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE 40/45k + INCENTIVES + BENEFITS: SThree: The su...

Recruitment Genius: Collections Agent

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company was established in...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE 40k: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 busi...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones