Air Transport World

Europe: no panic; measured response. (European airlines respond methodically to American carrier's intrusion into the market)

European carriers' response to the U.S. megacarriers' thrust into Europe has been incremental and measured because, for the most part, the U.S. thrust has been of a similar nature. Before the London swap of TWA and Pan Am for American and United, strong U.S. carriers had been entering European routes piecemeal for the past decade. Whereas American, Delta, Continental, Northwest and United had no European operations at all in the late 1970s, they were serving quite a number of major destinations by the late 1980s, although very few were served from traditional major U.S. gateways. Given this experience, larger European carriers could be excused for being somewhat less than panicked by the latest wave of Yankee interlopers.

For example, Air France believes that it will not be affected at all by the recent changes, denying that American and United's sharply increased international presence will give the U.S. carriers any halo advantage in French markets, or that there is a threat of diversion of traffic. A spokesman said the airline's plans for an unprecedented level of daily service to five U.S. cities during this year's high season were re-examined but only due to Gulf War-related business concerns. With traffic re-established, the plans have been reaffirmed. …

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