The Business Travel Coalition (BTC) questioned the consequences of the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) antitrust approval of the Delta Air Lines-Northwest Airlines merger approved today. The BTC said the merger “will no doubt include higher business fares, disruptive customer service and diminished connectivity to important business centers for mid-size communities as fleets and routes are rationalized.”
“Given the massive global reach of the enlarged Delta, and other airline combinations and joint-ventures, a first priority of the new administration should be to reconsider the negative impact of airline consolidation on consumers, and specifically the highly questionable wisdom of kitchen-sink grants of antitrust-immunity to airline alliances,” the BTC said in a statement. “Consumers should only hope that Delta’s model of quality in-house aircraft maintenance will prevail over the undesirable practice at Northwest of outsourcing maintenance to third-world countries where disparate safety and security standards have been the long-held concern of DOT Inspectors General, members of Congress and corporate travel managers.”
Headed by Kevin Mitchell, the BTC has been a consistent critic of the merger and outsourcing of maintenance. Founded in 1994, the mission of Business Travel Coalition is to bring transparency to industry and government policies and practices so that customers can influence issues of strategic importance to their organizations.