Air France-KLM, Alitalia, Delta Offer Concessions to Settle EU Probe

By Paul Riegler on 21 October 2014
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DSC_0342A European Union anti-trust investigation of three SkyTeam airlines may be close to resolution after the airlines offered to give up slots at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Alitalia, Air France-KLM, and Delta Air Lines proposed giving up arrival and departure slots on two routes, New York-Amsterdam and New York Rome, the European Commission, the EU antitrust regulator, said Tuesday in a statement. The slots would allow for greater competition, should other airlines choose to fly these routes.

The offer will be reviewed by the Commission, and it will review reaction to the proposal prior to accepting or rejecting it.

The agency first opened an investigation of cooperation amongst SkyTeam members in January 2012, concerned that “extensive cooperation” between the airlines, namely Air France-KLM, Delta Air Lines, and Alitalia, is resulting in higher prices on three transatlantic routes, New York-Amsterdam, New York-Paris, and New York-Rome.

“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 at the time.

The three airlines formed a joint venture in 1997, agreeing to coordinate schedules and pricing as well as to share revenue on specific transatlantic routes. 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, having joined in 2010, cover coordinated transatlantic operations in terms of ticket pricing, schedules, capacity, and revenue.

The airlines are confident that their proposal to the commission will settle the matter once and for all. “We have proposed a package of remedies which we believe fully resolves [EU] concerns,” said the airline in a statement.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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