Saturday, February 13, 2010

DOT Tentatively Appoves oneworld

The Department of Transportation announced today that it has tentatively approved the oneworld Alliance's application for antitrust immunity.  From the press release:

In today’s show-cause order, the Department tentatively found that granting antitrust immunity to the oneworld alliance would provide travelers and shippers with a variety of benefits, including lower fares on more routes, increased services, better schedules and reduced travel and connection times. The Department also said the proposed alliance would enhance competition around the world by creating competition with the existing Star Alliance and the SkyTeam alliance, which already have been granted immunity.

However, the Department also noted that the alliance could harm competition on select routes between between the United States and London’s Heathrow Airport, oneworld’s primary hub, where the availability of landing and takeoff slots is limited. As a condition of approval, the Department is proposing in its show-cause order that the applicants make four pairs of slots available to competitors for new U.S.-Heathrow service. The Department also would require changes to the agreement to ensure capacity growth, and require the carriers to submit traffic data and implement the proposed alliance within 18 months of a final decision.

See Press Release, U.S. DOT, DOT Proposes Approval of oneworld Antitrust Immunity Application, DOT 28-10 (Feb. 13, 2010) (available here).

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