EU OKs Merger of US Airways & American

     BRUSSELS (CN) – US Airways can merge with American Airlines on the condition that they give a competitor a chance at the route between London and Philadelphia, the European Commission said.
     The caveat is necessary because of the membership AMR Corp., the parent company of American Airlines, enjoys to a metal neutral joint venture with British Airways and Iberia.
     The partners have agreed to have common fares, capacity, schedules, sales and marketing, according a Monday statement from the commission.
     They share overall revenues and sell each other’s products and services on transatlantic routes without regard to which party is operating the aircraft, the statement continues.
     Without giving up a daily slot pair at London Heathrow, the merger would give US Airways Group and AMR a monopoly on the London-Philadelphia route where they are the only carriers offering nonstop flights.
     EU commissioners said the airlines will also provide “further incentives such as the possibility for a new entrant to acquire grandfathering rights after a certain period of time.”
     The airlines also “committed to entering into special feed traffic agreements with the likely entrant airline,” according to the commission’s statement.
     Competition will remain strong at all other transatlantic routes affected by the merger, the commission found.
     This is true because of other metal neutral joint ventures such as the North Atlantic Joint Venture, a partnership including Delta, Air France/KLM, and Alitalia.
     Lufthansa, Air Canada and United Airlines are also members of the A++ JV transatlantic partnership.
     Delta’s recent acquisition of joint control over the Virgin Group also means that Virgin Atlantic will present American Airlines and US Airways with a strong competitor, the commission found.
     Furthermore there are other air scheduled carriers that do not belong to transatlantic metal-neutral joint ventures, the commissioners noted.

%d bloggers like this: