Slots offered in return for partnership approval
March 11th, 2010 by elisa

Proposed alliance partners British Airways, American Airlines and Iberia have offered to lease transatlantic take off and landing slots to appease European regulators. The trio are prepared to lease four daily slot pairs for other airlines to use on specified transatlantic routes from London.

BA said that the gesture has been made “to enable the European Commission (EC) to conclude its investigations into their transatlantic joint business.”

The slots can be leased from the airlines’ current slot portfolio, according to BA. The Commission has agreed that the airlines should be compensated financially by those airlines wishing to lease slots.

BA, AA and Iberia also need US Department of Transportation anti-trust immunity to operate their transatlantic joint business. The airlines received tentative approval in February (see the previous blogfor more information). The DOT are reviewing the order and will respond by the time frame established for comments.

BA chief executive Willie Walsh said: “We’ve offered to lease slots to gain EC approval for our joint business which will bring benefits to our customers, shareholders and employees.

“It will also enable Oneworld to compete on a level playing field with the other global alliances across the Atlantic.

“We’re pleased that the EC has recognised that we should be compensated for leasing the slots. This reflects the fact that there is an active slots market in London where slots are generally traded for value”.

The EC will now seek the views of interested parties on the airlines’ proposed commitments.

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