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Star Alliance

Continental is one step closer to joining United Airlines/Star Alliance Antitrust-Immunized Alliance

eTN Staff Writer  Apr 07, 2009

The US Department of Transportation (DOT) on Tuesday informed United Airlines that it has tentatively approved Continental Airlines' application to join the antitrust-immunized alliance of United and eight other Star Alliance member airlines, published reports said. The department also tentatively approved United's and Continental's request to form a trans-Atlantic alliance including Lufthansa and Air Canada.

"The DOT's decision today will enable United, Continental, and the other Star Alliance members to offer travelers greater choice, lower fares, and improved access to more of the world," said Glenn Tilton, chairman, president and chief executive officer of United Airlines. "Final approval of the application will also enable the carriers to establish more efficient and comprehensive global networks, helping to level the competitive playing field in our industry. We would like to thank DOT Secretary LaHood and his team for their extensive review and tentative approval."

The antitrust immunity will reportedly hold expanded networks and provide benefits to customers of both airlines, as well as airlines within the Star Alliance network. With antitrust immunity, United and Continental and the other immunized carriers can work together to deliver competitive flight schedules and fares in trans-Atlantic markets and improved access to new routes, benefiting customers and their communities. In addition, this decision will establish a framework for similar joint ventures in other regions, further encouraging global airline competition.

"The support we received from members of Congress, community leaders, and civic organizations was instrumental in securing the timely approval of the application," said Mike Whitaker, United's senior vice president of alliances, international, and regulatory affairs. "We were delighted to work together to achieve this outcome that is so critical to improving customer choice and convenience."

In addition to United, the eight other Star Alliance member carriers that have received DOT approval for antitrust immunity are Air Canada, Austrian, bmi, Lufthansa, LOT Polish Airlines, Scandinavian airlines (SAS), SWISS, and TAP Air Portugal.

Continental is one step closer to joining United Airlines/Star Alliance Antitrust-Immunized Alliance
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