BA and American push for decision on tie-up
Tuesday 09 June 2009
British Airways and American Airlines have asked Europe's Competition Commission to formalise any objections to their proposed tie-up by the end of July, and remain confident the scheme will go ahead by the end of the year.
The monopoly watchdog began an investigation into the plans in April, denying BA's claims that the move was simply a procedural necessity.
The plans to co-ordinate transatlantic fares and capacity, and share revenues, between Oneworld alliance members BA, American and Iberia is being considered for anti-trust immunity (ATI) under US law. Competing airline groups Star Alliance – which includes Lufthansa and United Airlines – and SkyTeam – which includes Air France KLM, Delta and Northwest - already have ATI.
But in Europe there is no mechanism to sidestep competition rules. Alliances must prove that benefits to customers outweigh any infringement of rules on commercial collusion, and the investigation into the BA/American proposal comes alongside a similar inquiry into Star Alliance.
Despite potential objections from the European Commission, both American and BA claim to be confident of success. Willie Walsh, the BA chief executive, said: "We have advised the Commission that we would like them to move forward and present a statement of objections as soon as possible and that we will respond quickly. We remain as confident today of our ability to succeed in the application. This is an important issue for the consumer – it is about levelling the competitive playing field."
The latest ATI application is the third time that BA and American have tried to get together. Although the deal has outspoken critics, most notably Virgin Atlantic's Sir Richard Branson, BA and American say the situation is different because the US Open Skies treaty, passed last year, has opened up the market for Heathrow take-off and landing slots.
American Airlines's chief executive, Gerard Arpey, said: "If the facts matter, and they should, then we are very optimistic we will receive approval. This is good for the consumer and good for us because it means we can compete for the first time on a level playing field."
- 1 Isis 'jihadi bride' claims forced sex with Yazidi girls is never rape because Koran condones it
- 2 New Zealand 'the best country to work as a prostitute', says sex worker advocacy group
- 3 Purity balls: Girls in the US making virginity pledges as fathers vow to 'protect purity'
- 4 Mother 'will allow son's circumcision in return for release from prison'
- 5 Female Muay Thai champion hustles coaches to give them a beating
Greek hospitals cannot afford painkillers, scissors or sheets as budget cuts bite
Purity balls: Girls in the US making virginity pledges as fathers vow to 'protect purity'
Female Muay Thai champion hustles coaches to give them a beating
Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
Picture of couple posing with beached dolphin 'that later died' causes outrage
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
Report finds that Britain's wages are the most unequal in Europe
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland
iJobs Money & Business
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...
£45,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you looking for your next opportunity for ...
£45,000 - £55,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ACA/ACCA/ACMA qua...
£50,000 - £60,000: Laura Norton: Are you looking for an opportunity within a w...