United Airlines, Continental Airlines and All Nippon Airways have filed a request before the US Department of Transportation for anti-trust immunity to operate a joint venture on trans-Pacific routes.
The three carriers – all members of Star Alliance – are the first to take advantage of a new open skies agreement hatched early this month between the US and Japan that allows arrangements of this kind. The open skies deal, which has yet to be formalised, is conditional on one or more antitrust applications being granted by the US.
The joint venture would allow the three carriers to work together on flights between Japan and the US, which include coordination in scheduling, pricing and sales.
In a statement, the airlines said the joint venture would enable them “to compete more effectively with other global alliances, each of which has a significant presence in Tokyo”.
The application for anti-trust immunity would enable the three Star Alliance members “to create a more efficient and comprehensive trans-Pacific network, generating substantial service and pricing benefits for consumers”, the statement added.