American Airlines (AA), British Airways (BA) and Iberia have signed a joint business agreement that would fix timetables and prices, in addition to sharing frequent flyer details and revenues, on transatlantic flights between North America and Europe. The move comes days after days after Sir Richard Branson, president of Virgin Atlantic Airways, forewarned John McCain and Barack Obama about the move potentially destroying competition.
While Branson claims the alliance would harm consumers, spokespeople from AA, BA and Iberia claim the relationship will benefit consumers by providing convenient travel to more global destinations with better connections, improved flight schedules, and enhanced frequent flyer benefits. It will improve customer choice by enabling the oneworld global alliance to compete more effectively around the world with other global alliances.
The three airlines will file for worldwide antitrust immunity from the U.S. Department of Transportation and will notify the appropriate regulatory authorities in the European Union.
Under the joint business agreement, the three airlines will operate as separate legal entities and cooperate commercially on flights between the U.S, Mexico, and Canada, and the European Union, Switzerland, and Norway. The combined route network will serve 443 destinations in 106 countries with nearly 6,300 daily departures. The alliance will also help oneworld to compete with other global air alliances such as SkyTeam and Star Alliance.