Virgin Atlantic has reacted to reports that British Airways may be seeking an alliance with American Airlines and Iberia.
“We would oppose this attempt to create an anti-competitive alliance. It would form a dominant mega-power on transatlantic air routes from two of the largest EU members, forcing up ticket prices for passengers and restricting choice,” says Virgin Atlantic director of communications, Paul Charles.
“BA/AA/Iberia would together dominate slots at Heathrow airport and use that power to block new entrants onto key routes in Europe and across the Atlantic,” suggests Charles.
“The current crisis in aviation must lead to survival of the fittest, not protection for the fattest. Regulators must block this attempt to create such a giant champion of anti-competitive behaviour,” Charles concludes.
Meanwhile, BA has announced its latest passenger statistics for June. Load factors – the percentage of seats filled – fell by 3.8% to 76.7% compared to June last year. There was a 3.1% decrease in premium traffic and a 3.8% fall in non-premium traffic.
“The UK consumer environment is difficult leading to reduced traffic volumes,” says BA in a press statement. BA reports that long haul premium and short haul non-premium continue to be the best performing sectors of its business.
Rising oil prices – the airline says that Brent crude oil prices have risen from $110 per barrel at the beginning of May to $147 a barrel – has been responsible for what BA describes as “significant increases” in prices, including fuel surcharges.
During June, BA’s new subsidiary airline, OpenSkies, began flights between Paris Orly and New York JFK airport.