Monday, November 9, 2009

Regulators to Approve U.S./Australia Alliance

Back in July, the blog briefly discussed the alliance approval and antitrust immunity application filed before the Department of Transportation by the U.S.'s Delta Airlines and Australia's Virgin Blue, V Australia, and Pacific Blue (which also has operations in New Zealand).  See here; see also Dkt. No. OST-2009-0155, Application for Approval of and Antitrust Immunity for Alliance Agreements (July 9, 2009).  While pressure was being placed on the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to block the venture, it appears the Commission is now prepared to grant the plan an initial three-year authorization.  See Ian McDonald, Australian Regulator Proposes to Approve Virgin Blue, Delta JV, Dow Jones Newswire, Nov. 1, 2009 (available here).

There is no word yet on when the DOT will issue its final order for the application.  Currently, the focus remains on the yet-decided oneworld Alliance application.  A decision on that application was supposed to have been rendered by October 30, but has been delayed due objections from the Justice Department.

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