EU to decide on antitrust clearance for Oneworld airline alliance in July

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BRUSSELS – The European Commission is likely to decide before end July whether or not to give antitrust clearance to the Oneworld airline alliance, operated by British Airways, AMR Corp’s American Airlines and Iberia Lineas Aereas de Espana S.A.

Asked about the timing of the commission’s decision, competition spokeswoman Amelia Torres said the commission’s decision “could be before the end of the month.” In the U.S., the Department of Transportation, which is also reviewing the alliance, has already completed its probe, and is waiting for the commission’s announcement, according to people familiar with the deal.

Oneworld is the smallest of three existing alliances, and the antitrust clearance would give Oneworld parity with the flexibility already exploited by Air France-KLM SA and Delta Air Lines Inc. in SkyTeam; and carriers including UAL Corp.’s United Airlines, Continental Airlines Inc. and Germany’s Deutsche Lufthansa AG in Star Alliance.