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BA may launch US pact next year

BRITISH AIRWAYS and American Airlines are unlikely to launch their long-delayed alliance until next autumn - more than three years after it was first unveiled - the chief executive of the US carrier, Don Carty, said yesterday.

Mr Carty warned that the two airlines could walk away from the tie-up if they were prevented from selling runway slots at Heathrow airport or were forced to surrender as many as 267 slots - the number demanded by the European Commission. He was speaking as BA, American and three other leading airlines launched the "oneworld" airline alliance with a pledge to raise standards of global air travel.