Draft Brussels Opinion Welcomed

British Airways today welcomed the draft opinion of the European Commission to clear the way for its alliance with American Airlines, but said it was unhappy with some of the terms proposed by Brussels. The airline will study the proposals in detail when the Commission’s draft recommendations are published.

Bob Ayling, British Airways’ Chief Executive, said: “This is positive news. I am now even more hopeful that regulatory approval will be given on acceptable terms for our alliance with American Airlines. In the new global airline industry, competition for customers will increasingly come from global airline alliances. British Airways’ aim is to help win for Britain a bigger share of this global business by building an alliance with the best airlines in the world, competing against other alliances, in free markets, to improve customer service.”

He added, however: “Some of the terms being suggested by Brussels are too harsh, and would penalise the airline and Britain unfairly. Every lost slot means lost flights, lost business, lost service for customers. Every lost slot means 30 jobs we cannot create.”

The Commission’s draft opinion will now be the subject of consultation and will also be considered by the UK and US governments, which are expected to rule on the matter soon.