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Joined: Mon Nov 13, 2000 4:06 am

US Rivals Call For Hearing On BA-American Deal

Tue Nov 20, 2001 7:25 am

They say there's always two sides to an argument. I hope Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd. and bmi british midland will be involved as well. Not very good for competition is it???

US rivals call for hearing on BA-American deal
By Peter Spiegel in Washington

Published: November 19 2001 19:40 | Last Updated: November 19 2001 20:11

US rivals to the proposed alliance of British Airways and AMR's American Airlines on Monday asked the US Department of Transportation to hold a judicial hearing on the deal, arguing that much of the evidence in the case is in dispute and must be evaluated by an independent arbiter.

In a filing with the agency, Delta, Continental and Northwest airlines noted that a similar hearing was held four years ago when BA and American first applied for alliance approval and said the complexity of the issues had not changed.

"The department has received thousands of pages of conflicting documentary evidence," the airlines said. "Without the opportunity for an oral hearing and cross examination, the department has no reliable means to assess the credibility of the witnesses."

The alliance's opponents have grown more concerned in recent weeks that the Bush administration is poised to approve the deal to get a new air liberalisation treaty with the UK. The British government has signalled that it will quickly accede to American demands on a new "open skies" agreement - which would allow all US airlines to fly into London's Heathrow airport - if the BA-American alliance is granted immunity from US antitrust laws.

"The transportation department seems intent on sacrificing competition on the altar of open skies, and doing so as quickly as possible," said Larry Kellner, the president of Continental.

The BA-American alliance - like similar partnerships between UAL's United Airlines and Lufthansa, and KLM and Northwest - must gain antitrust immunity for the carriers to share revenues and pricing information.

The transportation department wants to act quickly on the BA-American application, saying the US has a "unique opportunity" to sign an open-skies deal.

The European Court of Justice is expected to strip authority to sign bilateral aviation treaties from member states early next year, which would make it impossible for the US and UK to rework their current deal, called Bermuda II, one of the most restrictive in the aviation industry
Anyone can fly, only the best Soar.
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RE: US Rivals Call For Hearing On BA-American Deal

Tue Nov 20, 2001 7:37 am

Is the "Open Skies Deal" to allow all US-Based Carriers to fly to London Heathrow like BA/AA alliance...??

Baec777  Big thumbs up
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RE: US Rivals Call For Hearing On BA-American Deal

Tue Nov 20, 2001 7:41 am

I think so. I'm not too sure about this subject. Theoretically, it should open LHR to airlines like VS, BD, SQ, DL, NW and US.

Someone confirm?
Anyone can fly, only the best Soar.
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RE: US Rivals Call For Hearing On BA-American Deal

Tue Nov 20, 2001 9:33 am

I don't think this deal will involve SQ! even though the open-skies goes through, SQ might not even get fifth freedom rights at LHR! It is so difficult to get fifth freedom rights at LHR. This pact covers American and British carriers only, not other foreign carriers!

Although I agree that bmi should be invited to the hearing though, although inviting Virgin is not much of a point since they already operate out of LHR!

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RE: US Rivals Call For Hearing On BA-American Deal

Tue Nov 20, 2001 10:05 am

BMI has an application on file with the USDOT for anti-trust immunity with UA. To have them at the hearing would be useless as the hearings would be airlines to voice their opposition to the anti-trust immunity applications for BA/AA and BMI/UA.
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RE: US Rivals Call For Hearing On BA-American Deal

Tue Nov 20, 2001 10:09 am

Why are there no complaints about LH/UA at FRA?
Why are there no complaints about KLM/NW at AMS?
Why should an "open skies" agreement between Britain and America include Singapore Airlines? Especially as there already fly there!
US carriers have fifth freedom through LHR. Why shouldn't British carriers have the same through, for example, JFK?
Why shouldn't BA be allowed to run a cargo airline based in the US with British registered aircraft and British/EU pilots? We let Fedex do it over here....
Why do the US carriers only want to "take" but not "give"? Scared of something?

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