UK: CMA launches probe into British Airways transatlantic deal

British competition regulators have launched a probe into a transatlantic pricing deal between British Airways and three other airlines, reported the Wall Street Journal.

The Competition and Markets Authority  is investigating a series of commitments made by British Airways, American Airlines, Iberia, and Finnair to the EU, which also allow the quartet to cooperate on capacity and schedules.  The partnership also includes Finnair Oyj and Spain’s Iberia, which, like British Airways, is part of International Consolidated Airlines Group.

The agreement, known as the Atlantic Joint Business Agreement, was struck in 2010 to address competition concerns raised by Brussels. It relates to six routes: London-Dallas, London-Boston, London-Miami, London-Chicago, London-New York, and Madrid-Miami.

Joint venture agreements between airlines have become a popular tool among several big-name long-haul carriers to more closely cooperate. National ownership rules typically block outright takeovers of airlines by foreigners, limiting the scope for global consolidation that has taken place in other industries, reported the Journal.

Full Content: The Wall Street Journal

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