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EU assesses antitrust concessions by transatlantic airline alliance

Updated:2010-03-11 11:00:45

The European Commission on Wednesday invited comments from interested parties on concessions proposed by British Airways, American Airlines and Spanish carrier Iberia to address antitrust concerns.

The commission, the antitrust watchdog of the European Union (EU), said it may adopt a decision to make the concessions legally binding if the market test confirms that the proposed commitments remedy the competition concerns.

In September 2009, the commission formally charged the three airlines, citing concerns that their extensive cooperation, which involved revenue-sharing and joint management of schedules, pricing and capacity, may be in breach of EU antitrust rules.

British Airways, American Airlines and Iberia then jointly offered a set of commitments to avoid antitrust fines, which were primarily aimed at enabling competing airlines to start operating on the affected routes by lowering barriers to entry.

Concretely, they offered to make available landing and take-off slots at London Heathrow or London Gatwick airports on routes to Boston, New York, Dallas and Miami.

In addition, the three airlines undertook to provide access to their frequent flyer programs on the relevant routes, allowing passengers of the qualified new entrants to accrue and redeem miles on the parties' frequent flyer programs.

But rival Virgin Atlantic said the proposals were "woefully inadequate" and would lead to higher prices for consumers.

 

 

Source:http://news.xinhuanet.com

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