The following was released today by
Continental Airlines, Delta Airlines and Northwest Airlines:
The proposed transatlantic alliance between American Airlines (AA) and
British Airways (BA) is so highly anticompetitive that it has been opposed by
the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), according to three major U.S. airlines.
Continental Airlines (NYSE: CAL), Delta Airlines (NYSE: DAL) and
Northwest Airlines (Nasdaq: NWAC) applauded the DOJ for taking a stand against
the alliance in its filing with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).
The DOJ stated that the alliance threatens a substantial loss of
competition which would likely result in higher air fares and reduced service.
The DOJ`s position is consistent with the position it took in 1998, when
AA-BA abandoned a very similar plan for cooperation.
British Airways is already 65 percent larger than its next largest
competitor between the U.S. and U.K. Combined, American and British Airways
would dominate U.S.-U.K. routes, being 300 percent larger than the nearest
competitor. Nearly 81 percent of all U.S.-Heathrow passengers would have
reduced or no competition if American and British Airways were allowed to join
Other recent developments in the AA-BA case include:
* Dec. 14 - Continental, Delta and Northwest filed an emergency motion
with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to require British
Airways to make available its strategic planning study that includes
information pertinent to the case.
* Dec. 12 - Delta filed a complaint with the European Commission
requesting a formal inquiry to determine if the proposed alliance
infringes on EC competition law.
* Nov. 27 - Twenty U.S. Senators urged the Bush Administration to deny
antitrust immunity. In addition, several state governors have said
the alliance will put their states at a competitive disadvantage by
preventing them from improving their states` international air
* Nov. 7 - The U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Antitrust, Business Rights
& Competition conducted a hearing on the proposed American Airlines-
British Airways arrangements.