Thursday, November 11, 2010
US clears joint air venture with United, Continental, ANA
WASHINGTON (AFP) - – US authorities approved a new joint trans-Pacific airline venture to be operated by United Airlines, Continental Airlines and Japan's ANA, the companies said.
The carriers said the US Department of Transportation issued a final order granting antitrust immunity enabling the airlines to jointly develop flight schedules and sales activities.
This will allow the Japanese carrier to cooperate with United Continental, created from the all-stock merger of United Airlines and Continental Airlines on October 1 that created the world's biggest carrier.
"Customers traveling between the Americas and Asia will enjoy more convenient flight schedules, with a broader range of fare and product options, once the joint venture is implemented," a statement by the airlines said.
"Today's final approval by DOT enables us to begin working toward a more convenient, more seamless experience for travelers on both sides of the Pacific," said Jeff Smisek, president and chief executive of United Continental Holdings.
Shinichiro Ito, president and CEO of ANA, said the clearance "enables us to begin the preparatory work necessary to launch our joint venture next spring, and to cooperate more closely with United and Continental for the benefit of customers."
The proposal was aimed at helping the airlines compete against other global alliances.
The carriers are members of the Star alliance that allows passengers to book flights among carriers based on code-sharing arrangements.
Other alliances include oneworld, comprised of American Airlines and British Airways, among others, and SkyTeam, which includes US-based Delta and Air France.
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