Air Transport World

Transatlantic tango.(Editorial)

A glance at the slot holdings at London Heathrow possessed by the global airline alliances shows why European and US regulators may be reluctant to give unqualified approval to the application for antitrust immunity filed last month by five members of oneworld (see News Briefs, p. 9). At the heart of the agreement are efforts to combine the transatlantic operations of American Airlines, British Airways and Iberia in hopes of giving them the same competitive muscle enjoyed by SkyTeam and Star Alliance. But the UK remains by far the most important transatlantic market, and oneworld controls nearly half the slots at LHR, according to data helpfully provided by Virgin Atlantic Airways.

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American and BA have traveled this road twice before but were unable to persuade regulators to approve their plans without a significant reduction in their slot positions at LHR, a condition deemed unacceptable in the Bermuda II world. …

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