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ASTA, ITSA Oppose Airline Antitrust Immunity

April 8, 2009 By: George Dooley

ASTA and the Interactive Travel Services Association (ITSA) expressed alarm with the Department of Transportation's (DOT) tentative decision to extend antitrust immunity to Star Alliance airlines. The two associations believe antitrust immunity would permit airline alliances to combine their bargaining power against both traditional and online travel agents. Star Alliance airlines include Air Canada, Austrian, bmi, LOT, Lufthansa, SAS, Swiss, TAP and United plus Continental Airlines.

"[We] are alarmed that the Department would permit huge airlines to combine their bargaining power against both traditional and online travel agents, which have brought transparency, innovation, and lower fares directly to consumers,” ASTA and ITSA said in a joint statement. “If finalized, this broad grant of immunity could be used to undermine independent travel distributors, which are critical to promoting airline competition and consumer welfare. The result will be fewer choices and higher prices for consumers. In the face of unprecedented airline consolidation and demands for extraordinary protection from the antitrust laws, the federal government needs to be more vigilant, not less, in protecting the traveling public.”

ASTA and ITSA indicated they will be filing objections to the DOT’s Show Cause Order within the 21-day deadline period. Visit

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