American Airlines and British Airways Alliance Gets US Clearance
American Airlines and British Airways got a tentative US approval to strengthen their alliance without experiencing any antitrust problems.
It has been a decade quest since the airlines first attempted to get the immunity. The temporary approval becomes permanent after 60 days. This will allow the airlines to jointly price, market and schedule international flights in their Oneworld Alliance.
The approval didn’t come out without payment. The airlines were to give up four pairs of take-off and landing spots at the busiest airport in Europe – London Heathrow Airport. The slots are to be given to rivals that would provide new US services.
This is the second good news for Oneworld Alliance after Japan Airlines opted to stay rather than defect to SkyTeam Alliance. Both groups are trailing the world’s largest alliance, which is Star Alliance. The approval will help Oneworld to better compete with the other two alliances since they would now be able to cross-sell seats on each other’s flights, share revenue, lower prices jointly, expand schedules, codeshare and coordinate transatlantic businesses.
The next step for the alliance is to get the approval from the European side. US and European regulators will meet in Madrid Monday, February 15, to discuss the next part of their open-skies agreement.