Tentative Green Light For Oneworld Antitrust Application

THE US Department of Transportation (DOT) has given tentative clearance to American Airlines and its fellow oneworld partners’ application for transatlantic antitrust immunity. In a statement it confirmed that “if the decision is made final, American and its oneworld alliance partners British Airways, Iberia, Finnair and Royal Jordanian Airlines would be able to more closely coordinate international operations in transatlantic markets.” According to the DOT the benefits of the global alliance would be lower fares on more routes, increased services, better schedules and reduced travel and connection times, although it acknowledged that it would harm competition on selected routes. This is primarily on flights to the US from London’s Heathrow Airport and it has requested that the alliance make four pairs of slots available to competitors for new services between the UK and US. Despite the stipulations, DOT has concluded the proposed alliance among the oneworld partners will “enhance competition around the world by creating competition with the existing Star alliance and SkyTeam alliance, which have already been granted immunity.” Meanwhile, American has applied to extend its existing co-operation with Japan Airlines (JAL).