EU Launches Antitrust Probe of Delta/Air France-KLM Joint Venture
European antitrust regulators announced a new investigation into pricing and capacity pacts between Air France-KLM, Alitalia, and Delta Air Lines on Friday. The European Commission, which is responsible for regulation competition in the European Union, is concerned that these deals could violate EU antitrust laws.
“The goal is to ensure that this tie-up does not harm passengers on EU-U.S. routes,” the commission said in a written statement.
The investigation will look into the implications of the joint venture on the markets covered versus how the three airlines might be competing otherwise.
The joint venture between Air France-KLM and Delta is considered one of the deepest in the industry and the agreements, to which Alitalia is also a party, cover coordinated transatlantic operations in terms of ticket pricing, schedules, capacity, and revenue.
“The parties also share profits and losses of their transatlantic flights,” noted the commission in its statement.
The environment in the U.S. is different as regulators have given members of all three major airline alliances, SkyTeam, Star Alliance, and oneworld, antitrust immunity with a goal of intensifying overall competition.
In a separate matter, the EU said it was closing separate antitrust proceedings against certain current and former members of the SkyTeam alliance including AeroMexico, Air France-KLM, Alitalia, Continental, Czech Airlines, Delta, and Korean Air Lines.