February 13 - BTC Applauds DOT’s oneworld Decision

Finally, corporate travel departments will have three fully competitive alliances to source from

Radnor, PA, February 13, 2010 - Business Travel Coalition (BTC) today applauded the Obama Administration for its decision announced by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Saturday to propose a grant of antitrust immunity to American Airlines, British Airways, Royal Jordanian Airlines, Finnair and Iberia Airlines to form a global alliance. Upon final approval, consumers and corporate travel departments will finally have three fully competitive alliance networks battling it out for their business. With the Star and SkyTeam alliances having been operating with antitrust immunity for their ventures for some time, business travelers no doubt have been paying higher fares than necessary with oneworld’s inability to provide effective competitive discipline to the other two immunized alliances.

“While we are still reviewing the details, we are pleased DOT’s expert analysis was consistent with much of BTC’s formal comments in the proceeding. Corporate travel departments in the U.S. and Europe will now be able to aggressively leverage professional procurement processes to their benefit. An immunized American Airlines / British Airways will strengthen the competitiveness of London Heathrow vis-à-vis, Paris Charles De Gaulle, Germany’s Frankfurt and Amsterdam’s Schiphol airports resulting in greater opportunities to play one alliance off against the others as these competitors seek to attract business travelers to transit their respective European gateway airports,” stated BTC Chairman Kevin Mitchell.

What’s more, as DOT specifically called out, inter-alliance competition worldwide will be strengthened for the benefit of corporate travel departments everywhere. On top of Japan Airlines’ decision this week to remain with oneworld, which guarantees three-way alliance competition in the U.S. to Japan and Northern Asia markets as well in the intra Asia markets, this decision announced today by DOT once again herald’s the dawn of an invigorated consumer voice at DOT. BTC encourages the DOT and European Commission, which is also reviewing the airlines’ proposal, to proceed without delay in bringing these benefits to the airline customer.

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