British Airways alliance compromise blasted as “woefully inadequate”

British Airways, American Airlines and Iberia’s offer to give up a number of lucrative trans-atlantic slots in a bid to gain EU antitrust immunity for their alliance has been blasted as “woefully indequate” by rival Virgin Atlantic.

Led by Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Atlantic says the proposals are “woefully inadequate” and would lead to higher prices for consumers.

It comes after The European Commission gave interested parties a month to comment on the concessions.

The three carriers, members of the Oneworld alliance, want to deepen the pact to take advantage of the U.S./EU “Open Skies” agreement.However the EC says this can only happen “if the market test confirms that the proposed commitments remedy the competition concerns.”

Such a decision would mean the Commission dropping its investigation and no fines levied on the companies.The airlines want to manage jointly schedules, capacity and pricing as well as share revenues on routes between North America and Europe.

The three airlines had offered to give up some landing and take-off slots for routes from London to Dallas, London to Boston, London to Miami and possibly London to New York should competitive conditions change.
The carriers also proposed to allow access to their frequent flyer programs on those routes as well as London-Chicago and Madrid-Miami, and submit data on their cooperation.

Howevr Branson blasted the offer, saying: “I continue to question why the Commission is even considering these proposals to try and put right the consumer harm of this monster monopoly when it does not seem to have any evidence of concrete consumer benefits.”

The Commission is also probing proposed alliances between members of Star Alliance, and members of SkyTeam, both rivals of Oneworld.

Meanwhile BA are awaiting news from trade union TUC over how badly affected they could be by industrial action, after talks to avert the strikes broke down last night.

Latest from Marketing Week

PLEASE SIGN IN OR REGISTER. IT'S FREE, QUICK AND EASY!

Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and inspiration that will help you develop as a marketer and leader.

Register and receive the best content from the only title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work, so we can make Marketing Week more relevant to you.

Register now

THE BEST CONTENT

Our award winning editorial team and columnists will ask the biggest questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.

THE BIGGEST ISSUES

From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we will be your guide.

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Dedicated to developing your skills and helping you achieve marketing excellence. Find guidance on leadership, professional development and the latest industry jobs.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3711 or email subscriptions@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here