US Airways Urges Dot To Press Ahead With Plan For Enhanced Competition At Heathrow Airport

US Airways today urged the Department of Transportation to press ahead with plans for expanded competition at London’s Heathrow Airport in anticipation of an “open skies” agreement between the United States and the United Kingdom.

“Because it operates an extensive network in the eastern United States, where a majority of U.S.-U.K. passengers originate or terminate their journeys, US Airways will be a strong, growing competitive force in the Heathrow market. But the consumer benefits of US Airways’ presence in this market can only be fully realized if US Airways can serve Heathrow from its three gateway hubs” - Charlotte, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, US Airways said in a new filing today with the DOT.

US Airways urged the DOT, in its decisions on Heathrow service, to ensure enhanced competition by requiring carriers in both the proposed American Airlines-British Airways Alliance (AA-BA) and the United Airlines- British Midland Alliance (UA-BD) to give up take-off and landing slots from their “vast holdings” so that new carriers can enter the market.

“In granting antitrust immunity to AA-BA and UA-BD, the Department would be sponsoring the creation of a duopoly at slot and facility-constrained Heathrow with each alliance having the ability to coordinate prices and schedules. It would be inexplicable to require only half the duopoly to divest the slots and facilities necessary to create a competitive market structure under open skies. Rather, UA-BD’s large slot holdings must be part of the competitive solution that provides new entrant access to Heathrow,” US Airways said.

Reporters needing additional information should contact US Airways Corporate Communications at (703) 872-5100.