Thousands of politicians, airports, travel agents, business leaders and others urge approval for oneworld ATI bid

19 May 2009

Nearly 3,400 letters from business and consumer groups, airport officials and politicians from across the United States have been sent to the US Department of Transportation (DOT) supporting American Airlines application for anti-trust immunity (ATI) with its transatlantic oneworld partners British Airways,  Iberia, Finnair and Royal Jordanian.

The DOT's period for public comment on the five airlines bid closed yesterday.   The department is now expected to deliver its decision on their application by the end of October.

From across the USA, almost 500 politicians - senators, members of the House of Representatives, governors and mayors - 129 US airports, 521 corporations and small businesses, 615 travel industry organisations and 365 non-profit organisations and chambers of commerce have filed submissions urging the DOT to enable oneworld's transatlantic carriers to compete on equal terms with their competitors in SkyTeam and Star, which have had ATI for many years.

They said that businesses, consumers and communities they represent would all benefit if the playing field is leveled.

Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin said: "Approval of the application will give consumers more travel options, increase competition for international travel and create jobs.  I stand with airports and businesses in supporting this alliance and the economic activity it stands to create."

ATI would enable the oneworld carriers to unlock even more consumer value from the alliance, with greater access to discounted fares, smoother connections and more frequent flyer benefits.

It is anticipated that the European Union regulatory review process will be concluded by the end of this year.

Details of the application and a list of support letters filed with the DOT are available at http://www.moretravelchoices.com/