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American Airlines and JAL seek antitrust deal

Feb. 16, 2010, Dallas, TX - American Airlines said Friday it has asked U.S. regulators to let it work more closely with Japan Airlines without violating antitrust laws.


February 16, 2010
By The Associated Press

The two airlines already sell seats on each other's flights. Antitrust immunity would let them go further, even working together to set prices and schedules.

American said it asked the U.S. Transportation Department for an exemption to antitrust laws to co-operate with Japan Airlines on trans-Pacific routes. The carriers said they would also notify Japanese officials of their intent to form a joint venture.

The move to seek antitrust protection was expected since financially troubled Japan Airlines announced this week that it would maintain and deepen ties with American instead of jumping to an alliance of carriers led by Delta Air Lines Inc.

Gerard Arpey, the CEO of American and parent AMR Corp., said Friday that a joint venture with antitrust immunity would boost Japan Airlines' restructuring and increase competition in the fast-growing Asian travel market by strengthening American's Oneworld alliance.

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Oneworld competes against the SkyTeam alliance led by Delta — already a force in Japan — and the Star Alliance that includes United, Continental and Japan's All Nippon Airways. If Japan Airlines had jumped to Delta's team, it could have left oneworld with a very small share of U.S.-Japan travel while giving SkyTeam
more than half the market.

American Airlines officials have said they could have lost more than US$100 million if Japan Airlines jumped to SkyTeam. Some analysts believed the figure was much higher.

American and its oneworld partners have promised to deliver $2
billion in new revenue for Japan Airlines over three years.

U.S. and Japanese airlines were free to seek antitrust immunity after the two governments agreed last year on a so-called open-skies treaty to ease restrictions on each other's carriers.

United, Continental and All Nippon applied for antitrust immunity in December.