AMERICAS: Virgin points to oneworld Ã¢â‚¬Å“monster monopolyÃ¢â‚¬Â
Virgin Group Chairman Richard Branson has said that the US Dept. of TransportationÃ¢â‚¬™s granting American Airlines (AA), British Airways (BA) and other oneworld carriers antitrust immunity on transatlantic services Ã¢â‚¬Å“would create a monster monopoly on key routes between London Heathrow and the US.Ã¢â‚¬Â In a speech in Washington, he said BA/AA would control Ã¢â‚¬Å“nearly half […]
June 1, 2009
In a speech in Washington, he said BA/AA would control Ã¢â‚¬Å“nearly half of all takeoff and landing slots at London HeathrowÃ¢â‚¬Â and that antitrust immunity would prove Ã¢â‚¬Å“disastrousÃ¢â‚¬Â for the airline industry and consumers.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“ItÃ¢â‚¬™s clear that the application for a merger between BA and AA must be rejected,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said, adding, Ã¢â‚¬Å“What is before the regulators today is the future of a competitive international aviation industry.Ã¢â‚¬Â
American Airlines responded by accusing Branson of Ã¢â‚¬Å“trotting out old, outdated arguments that do not reflect the current environment and trying to sensationalise the matter.Ã¢â‚¬Â