(CHICAGO) Thursday, April 4, 2002 - United Airlines today commended the U.S. Department of Transportation`s (DOT) final determination that the addition of bmi british midland to United`s existing antitrust immunity with Lufthansa, SAS and the Austrian Group is “pro-competitive and pro-consumer.”
“Both DOT and the Department of Justice have now recognized the significant consumer benefits of this alliance,” said Michael Whitaker, United`s vice president of international and regulatory affairs. “It provides passengers expanded traveling options and needed competition in the US-UK market,” he said.
Whitaker urged DOT to grant the immunity now rather than waiting to see if the US and UK are able to conclude an open skies agreement within the next six months, as the DOT has proposed. “Granting the immunity now would allow consumers to immediately enjoy the benefits of the alliance and inject significant and immediate competition to British Airways and American Airlines, the two dominant carriers in the US-UK market. It would also pressure British Airways to come back to the open skies bargaining table to obtain approval for its troubled alliance with American Airlines.”
United is a long-standing advocate of alliance network competition, which offers customers lower fares and a coordinated network of hassle-free travel to all points on the globe.
United Airlines offers nearly 1,700 flights a day on a route network that spans the globe. News releases and other information about United Airlines can be found at the company`s website, www.united.com.