BA/AA/Iberia agreement finalised

BA/AA/Iberia agreement finalised

British Airways, American Airlines and Iberia have received the final approval from the US Department of Transport (DOT) to go ahead with its joint transatlantic flight operations. “We’ve waited 14 years to bring the benefits of the transatlantic joint business to our customers and level the playing field with the other two global alliances,” said BA Chief Executive Willie Walsh. “As we have argued all along, the EU-US market is highly competitive and Heathrow’s liberalisation in 2008 opened it up even further.” DOT and the EU will work together to ensure the airlines give up slots for competitors on a regular basis. American Airlines Chief Executive Gerard Arpey said the three would work with its oneworld partners to “enhance our product offerings, strengthen our route networks and better position our airlines to compete in the ever-changing global aviation marketplace”. “I am convinced consolidation is the best and only way to succeed in the airline industry and the approval we have received today to create a joint business is a very important step towards this consolidation process,” said Iberia’s Executive Chairman Antonio Vazquez. Meanwhile, Cheapflights.co.uk has also welcomed the move as it puts the oneworld alliance on par with the competing Star and Sky Team groups. “As a consumer champion we are generally concerned that mergers and less competition will lead to higher prices,” said Cheapflights Media CEO Chris Cuddy. “However, the US Department of Transport investigation puts the case that a better rationalised airline alliance can lower costs, which will allow more competitive fares to be passed on to consumers.”

Gary Marshall
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Gary Marshall
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