British Airways has offered to lease daily slots to its rivals in a bid to ease through regulatory approval of its partnership with Iberia and American Airlines.
All three airlines will offer up slots as they continue to seek approval for closer collaboration from the European Commission, which is in the process of evaluating the tie-up’s effect on transatlantic competition.
BA’s CEO Willie Walsh said relinquishing the slots would allow the EC to approve its venture with AA and Iberia, and in doing so “enable Oneworld to compete on a level playing field with the other global alliances”.
Walsh added that he was “pleased” the EC had agreed that the slots should be paid for by any airlines wishing to use them.
In an attempt to fulfil regulatory requirements, the following slots may be leased to airlines not belonging to the Oneworld alliance (of which all three airlines are key members):
- Two daily pairs from Heathrow or Gatwick to Boston
- One daily pair from Heathrow or Gatwick to Dallas Fort Worth
- One daily pair from Heathrow or Gatwick to Miami
Two more pairs of slots could be leased from Heathrow or Gatwick to New York, “should today’s competitive market between London and New York change,” BA said.
Last month BA, AA and Iberia received tentative approval for anti-trust immunity (ATI) from the US Department of Transportation (DoT) for their joint venture.
Report by Andrew Gough