– Today, over 75 U.S. and European airports urged the approval of transatlantic antitrust immunity (ATI) for the oneworld global airline alliance partners American Airlines, Inc. (AA), British Airways PLC (BA), Finnair OYJ (AY), Iberia Lineas Aereas de Espana, S.A. (IB), and Royal Jordanian Airlines (RJ). The airports organized themselves as the Airports’ Coalition for Alliance Benefits (ACAB) and held a Washington, DC, press conference on the last day of the three-week public comment period to urge U.S. Government officials to approve the alliance application presently before the U.S. DOT. Representatives of ACAB included:
— Mr. Jeffrey Fegan, A.A.E., CEO, Dallas/Ft Worth International Airport
— Mr. Tory Richardson, A.A.E., Executive Director, Fort Wayne
International Airport (FWA)
— Mr. Tim Campbell, A.A.E., Executive Director, Baltimore/Washington
International Airport (BWI)
— Mr. Andrew Cornish, Managing Director, Manchester Airport Group (MAN)
Together they outlined consumer benefits and airport impacts including:
— Approval of oneworld ATI levels the playing field. Star and SkyTeam
already enjoy transatlantic ATI — oneworld, its airports, and its
passengers deserve the same.
— ATI will generate new economic activity through new routes and new
connections. The resulting economic impact for communities worldwide
is critical at this time of great uncertainty.
— Consumers will benefit from more and better service, such as improved
connection times, single-ticket pricing, and worldwide customer
service — just like Star and SkyTeam passengers have today.
— ATI will open up new routes to new markets — such as secondary
European markets and secondary U.S. markets.
— ATI offers benefits to airports of all sizes in the U.S. and in
ACAB executives then traveled to U.S. DOT headquarters to present the ACAB’s joint letter urging swift approval.
“As communities struggle to survive the most severe global economic recession since the 1930s, protecting and growing air travel is critical to maintaining the economic activity of the United States,” said DFW’s CEO Jeffrey Fegan. “Studies have shown that a single daily transatlantic roundtrip flight can contribute up to $100 to $150 million in annual economic activity to the metropolitan area of the origin airport. Air service is an economic stimulant, and ATI stimulates air service.”
“We encourage the DOT to swiftly approve the application for oneworld ATI because of the consumer and economic benefits that ATI will bring to our communities,” said Tory Richardson, Executive Director of Fort Wayne International Airport. “My passengers would like to spend less time on connections and more time getting to their final destination.”
“Our interest in the approval of the oneworld ATI application is centered around new nonstop opportunities between secondary European markets such as Manchester and major U.S. cities,” said Andrew Cornish, CEO of U.K.-based Manchester Airport Group. “We believe that our market can support nonstop U.S. service and that ATI will greatly benefit our community and the U.S. communities to which we send our residents and business people.”
BWI Executive Director Tim Campbell has an interest in capturing U.S. Government traffic originating from companies located near BWI that is currently prohibited from traveling to Europe on British Airways due to Fly America regulations. “We have companies closer to our airport than any other that travel on U.S. government business or are U.S. government personnel. They have to fly on either U.S. carriers or those carriers that carry a U.S. carrier flight number. Today that isn’t possible without ATI. We need this for our airport’s viability and for the convenience of those who would like to be our passengers.”
ATI allows airlines to engage in full commercial joint ventures in a market, utilizing the resources of two or more carriers to ensure the success of the service. Immunized partners can collaborate on pricing and revenue management, utilize the marketing resources of all joint venture carriers to promote and distribute seats in the market, and share the revenues and costs of the operation.