After merger approval BA, Iberia get greenlight for alliance with AA

AMERICAN Airlines, British Airways (BA) and Iberia have finally been given all the final regulatory approvals for joint transatlantic operations. The announcement comes after final approval for the merger between BA and Iberia.

Europe’s government, the European Commission (EC), gave its approval to the merger after ruling that it would not have an adverse effect on competition.

“The Commission concluded that the transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or any substantial part of it,” the EC said. “The Commission’s investigation showed that the merged entity will continue to face enough competition after the merger.”

The US had already given its approval previously.

The EC’s ruling then cleared the way for both European carriers to form their long-sought transatlantic passenger and cargo alliance with American Airlines, which the US Department of Transportation has now approved.

The merger alone will create Europe’s third largest scheduled cargo operation with annual traffic close to 1 million metric tons.

The transatlantic alliance will allow all three to co-ordinate capacity, routes and sales, and ultimately to share profits, on services between Canada, Mexico and the US and the 27 countries of the EU, as well as Norway and Switzerland.

British Airways’ chief executive officer, Willie Walsh, said: “This final approval is fantastic news. We’ve waited 14 years to…level the playing field with the other two global alliances. As we have argued all along, the EU-US market is highly competitive and Heathrow’s liberalisation in 2008 opened it up even further. We are delighted that the US and EU authorities have recognised this.”

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