EU sends anti-trust complaints to American Airlines


The European Union has sent anti-trust complaints to American Airlines and two of its partners over a proposed alliance that would coordinate operations and marketing on trans-Atlantic routes.

The “statement of objections” to the so-called Oneworld Alliance between Fort Worth-based American (NYSE: AMR), British Airways Plc and Spain’s Iberia and other airlines said the alliance may be a “breach of European rules on restrictive business practices”.

The three carriers want the alliance to help cut costs and to compete against two competing alliances for trans-Atlantic routes, called the Star Alliance and SkyTeam. American and its partners asked for anti-trust immunity last year.

“We look forward to the opportunity to address and overcome the EU’s concerns, especially given the substantial benefits for consumers that would result from our trans-Atlantic joint business,” said Tim Smith, an American spokesman, in an e-mailed statement. “The EU’s thorough review of our plans and supporting evidence was anticipated and is similar to its continuing review of the Star and SkyTeam alliances, which already have anti-trust immunity from the U.S. Department of Transportation.”

Smith’s statement added that the “quickest way to robust competition and more travel choices for consumers is to ensure that all three global airline alliances can compete on an equal footing. Our joint business would benefit millions of customers with greater access to discounted fares, more convenient connections and better access to a global network of more than 500 destinations.”