BTC Blasts Airline Mergers

Warning that airline consolidation is harmful to consumers and does not address the airline industry’s real problems, Kevin Mitchell, chairman of the influential Business Travel Coalition (BTC), urged Congress to examine the consumer and competitive issues carefully and deliberately, and develop a new fact based national aviation policy that serves the traveling public.

Mitchell’s statement emerged in the aftermath of last week’s Congressional hearings on the proposed merger of Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines and subsequent reports of merger and alliance talks between American, US Airways, Continental United and British Airways.

“From a consumer standpoint, Congress must insist that the U.S. Departments of Transportation and Justice not focus on the proposed Delta / Northwest merger, or any of these potential combinations as standalone transactions, as would be normal procedure. But rather, their analysis must include implications for the competitive structure of the airline industry resulting from a radical consolidation of other major carriers," Mitchell said.

Full details of the BTC policy statement can be found at www.btc.com.