Delta says BA-AA must lose 50 flights

Delta Air Lines of the US, one of the leading opponents of the British Airways-American Airlines alliance, said yesterday that the tie-up should only be allowed to go ahead if the two carriers surrendered 50 round trips from Heathrow a day.

This is double the number of slots that competition authorities in Washington and Brussels have said should be relinquished and four times the number that the Office of Fair Trading says BA and American should be required to give up.

The tough line being taken by Delta, the biggest airline in the world based on passengers carried, is designed to put extra pressure on regulatory authorities on both sides of the Atlantic as the deadline looms for a final decision on the long-delayed alliance.

The OFT recommended that BA and American relinquish 168 take off and landing slots at Heathrow a week as the condition for allowing the alliance to proceed. The European Competition Commissioner, Karel Van Miert and the US General Office of Accounting, which reports to Congress, both recommended that 350 slots be surrendered.

But Delta said yesterday that between 700 and 800 slots should be given up and redistributed to rival carriers if real competition were to be preserved following the launch of the alliance.

Approval for the BA-American tie up will pave the way for an open skies agreement between London and Washington, liberalising air services across the Atlantic by permitting any US carrier into Heathrow.

Stephan Egli, Delta's newly appointed vice-president for the Atlantic and Pacific, said that releasing 168 slots would only allow proper competition to take place on one route - Heathrow to New York's JFK airport - where the combination of BA and American would otherwise dominate with 13 non- stop flight a day.

Mr Egli said that if there were to be real competition on the four, or give other routes where BA and American would have a stranglehold, then as many as 800 slots would need to be freed up: "We recognise that is a tremendous number of slots but it needs to be done if we are not to allow a monopoly."

The alternative, he added, would be higher price and less choice because other carriers would simply drop out of the routes as they would not be able to compete on equal terms.

A BA spokesman said of Delta's demand: "There are some absurd suggestions out there but this one takes the biscuit. All our competitors have rallied against the alliance because they have their own agendas to pursue."

The BA team working on the alliance planning meets today to take stock of the situation and continue preparing the airline's formal response to Mr Van Miert. Bob Ayling has set an effective deadline of November for approval for the alliance otherwise the two carriers will not be able to plan their summer schedule properly. The bi-annual slot scheduling conference, attended by all the world's airlines, takes place in Brisbane, Australia, between 13-20 November to allocate slots for all airports for next summer.

Even if approval is finally granted it will have taken BA and American two years from the date of their original announcement to get the alliance airborne.

News
The cartoon produced by Bruce MacKinnon for the Halifax Chronicle-Herald on Thursday, showing the bronze soldiers of the war memorial in Ottawa welcoming Corporal Cirillo into their midst
news
Voices
Funds raised from the sale of poppies help the members of the armed forces with financial difficulties
voicesLindsey German: The best way of protecting soldiers is to stop sending them into disastrous conflicts
Voices
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
voicesNigel Farage: Where is the Left’s outrage over the sexual abuse of girls in the North of England?
Property
One bedroom terraced house for sale, Richmond Avenue, Islington, London N1. On with Winkworths for £275,000.
property
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Text messaging changes as a relationship evolves
life
News
The comedian, 42, made the controversial comment following the athlete’s sentencing to five years for the culpable homicide of Reeva Steenkamp on Tuesday
peopleComedian's quip about Reeva Steenkamp was less than well received at music magazine awards
Sport
Cristiano Ronaldo in action for Real Madrid
football
News
peoplePerformer had recently been diagnosed with prostate cancer
Life and Style
food + drink
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SQL Developer with T-SQL, Watford, Hertfordshire - £350 - £360

£350 - £360 per day: Ashdown Group: SQL Developer with T-SQL, Watford, Hertfor...

Chief Financial Officer

120-150k: Accountancy Action: We are looking for an experienced CFO from a min...

IT Systems Business Analyst - Watford - £28k + bonus + benefits

£24000 - £28000 per annum + bonus & benefits: Ashdown Group: IT Business Syste...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Real Staffing

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: The SThree group is a world le...

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?