oneworld Global Alliance Members Apply For Antitrust Immunity To Create Worldwide Cooperation
American Airlines , British Airways , and Iberia (IGBM: IBLA.MC) have signed a joint business agreement on flights between North America and Europe and plan to expand their global cooperation.
This relationship will benefit consumers by providing easy, seamless and 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, of which American, British Airways, and Iberia are key members, to compete more effectively around the world with other global alliances.
The airlines plan to file today for worldwide antitrust immunity from the U.S. Department of Transportation and will notify the appropriate regulatory authorities in the European Union.
In addition, fellow oneworld members Finnair and Royal Jordanian are included in the antitrust immunity application.
Under the joint business agreement, the three airlines will cooperate commercially on flights between the United States, Mexico, and Canada, and the European Union, Switzerland, and Norway while continuing to operate as separate legal entities. They will expand their codeshare arrangements on flights within and beyond the EU and U.S., significantly increasing the number of destination choices that the airlines can offer customers.
Today's announcement is a significant step towards strengthening customer choice. This agreement will enable oneworld to compete effectively with rival global air alliances that have already received transatlantic antitrust immunity. Currently, six airlines in SkyTeam and nine Star Alliance airlines have such immunity.
Customers will be able to travel more easily on the three airlines' combined route network which will serve 443 destinations in 106 countries with nearly 6,300 daily departures and more frequent and convenient schedule options than any of the three carriers could offer individually. By working together to provide links for connecting passengers, the airlines can expand customer choice by supporting routes that would not be economically viable for the individual airlines.
Customers will also benefit from expanded opportunities to earn and redeem frequent flyer miles and elite tier benefits on flights worldwide and continued reciprocal airport lounge access.
The joint business agreement will enable the airlines to reduce costs and attract new customers, helping to mitigate pressure on fares from record fuel costs. This means that the airlines will have greater ability to invest in their products, services and fleets. Employees and shareholders will also benefit from the agreement.
Gerard Arpey, Chairman and CEO of AMR Corp., the parent of American Airlines, said, "We believe our proposed cooperation is an important step towards ensuring that we can compete effectively with rival alliances and manage through the challenges of record fuel prices and growing economic concerns. In addition, we believe we will be more effective competitors with greater ability to invest in our products and services. As a result, this business agreement will create positive outcomes for our customers, shareholders, employees and the communities we serve."
Willie Walsh, British Airways' Chief Executive, said, "This strategic relationship strengthens competition by providing consumers with easier journeys to more destinations with better aligned schedules and frequencies. We are applying for EU-U.S. antitrust immunity in a changed regulatory world where London Heathrow is open to any U.S. or EU airline that wants to fly to the United States and where rival alliances have immunity."
Fernando Conte, Iberia Chairman and Chief executive, said, "Customers will benefit the most from this relationship as they will have better connections to more destinations around the world. It will increase competition as the three global airline alliances will play under the same rules. We are taking a very important step towards consolidation which is necessary in today's aviation industry."
Statements of participants regarding forward-looking statements:
Forward-looking Statements of AMR Corporation and American Airlines, Inc., and Iberia Lineas Aereas de Espana, S.A.
This press release contains forward-looking statements that represent the current beliefs, expectations or intentions of AMR Corporation ("AMR") and American Airlines, Inc . ("American"), and Iberia Lineas Aereas de Espana, S.A. ("Iberia"), regarding future events. Forward-looking statements include statements regarding the benefits and effects of the agreements and relationships, and the plans and intentions of the airlines, described in this press release. All forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, and are subject to a number of factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from expectations and from those expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements. Examples of such risks and uncertainties include receipt of (and conditions to) various regulatory approvals, successful negotiation of definitive documents setting forth the agreements of the airlines and implementing their plans, and other approvals. Please read AMR's and American's current report on Form 8-K filed on August 14, 2008 for additional information regarding these risks and uncertainties. AMR and American, and Iberia, undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.
Forward-looking Statements of British Airways Plc.
Certain information included in these statements is forward-looking and involves risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by the forward looking statements.
Forward-looking statements include, without limitation, projections relating to results of operations and financial conditions and the Company's plans and objectives for future operations, including, without limitation, discussions of the Company's Business Plan programs, expected future revenues, financing plans and expected expenditures and divestments. All forward-looking statements in this report are based upon information known to the Company on the date of this report. The Company undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
It is not reasonably possible to itemize all of the many factors and specific events that could cause the Company's forward looking statements to be incorrect or that could otherwise have a material adverse effect on the future operations or results of an airline operating in the global economy.
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