London and Fort Worth, Texas, Friday, August 3, 2001: British Airways and American Airlines today unveiled plans for a new alliance that would boost competition, deliver significant benefits for international air travellers, and move toward a level playing field with other global airline alliances.
The companies will file applications for antitrust immunity in the United States and clearance for their proposals in the United Kingdom and with the European Commission. Both airlines are eager to work with regulatory authorities to gain the necessary approvals and help create a positive climate for “open skies” between the United States and United Kingdom, giving passengers a far greater choice of carriers. In line with the competing airline alliances, the new relationship would include a wide scale codesharing agreement.
Key consumer benefits would include access to more destinations and more convenient schedules, extending lower fares to a wider range of destinations, flexibility and ease of transfer, a more attractive frequent flyer programme, greater ticket interchangeability and new improved check-in and luggage facilities.
Commenting on today’s announcement, Rod Eddington, British Airways’ Chief Executive, and Don Carty, American Airlines’ Chairman and Chief Executive, said: “We simply want to have the same commercial advantages and deliver the same consumer benefits that rival airline alliances and their passengers enjoy. Antitrust immunity and codesharing would put us on a level playing field with other alliances and set the stage for a US-UK open skies agreement.”
The new alliance includes a profit sharing arrangement covering nine transatlantic routes between London and Boston, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Raleigh/Durham, St. Louis and San Francisco. Antitrust immunity and codesharing would allow British Airways and American Airlines, and the larger oneworld? alliance, to compete more effectively with rival alliance networks.
Since the beginning of the British Airways-American Airlines relationship in 1996, dramatic changes have taken place in the transatlantic aviation marketplace. Competing alliances now enjoy varying degrees of antitrust immunity and codesharing approvals that British Airways and American Airlines have yet to obtain.
“We are eager to work with regulators to gain the appropriate approvals. All parties should take notice of the dramatic changes in the transatlantic marketplace over the last five years. Progress towards open skies and greater alliance competition will benefit all passengers,” said Rod Eddington and Don Carty.