Posted: 15 Feb 2010 | Channels:

BA/AA is a Kick In the Teeth For Consumers

Sir Richard Branson, President of Virgin Atlantic, has today criticised the
preliminary decision by the US Department of Transportation to allow BA and
AA's anti-competitive alliance to go ahead unbelievably only requiring four
Heathrow slot pairs to remedy the competitive harm.

In recent months two competition authorities have cited grave concerns
about this anti-competitive alliance which makes it all the more
unbelievable that the DOT has given it the go-ahead, with what can only be
described as token slot divestments.

Sir Richard Branson commented;

"This preliminary decision beggars belief. The DOT last time said that in
order to address the competitive harms hundreds of slot pairs had to be
handed over permanently - absolutely nothing has changed since then. Four
slots pairs is a complete joke and those responsible for this decision
should hang their heads in shame.

"The US Department of Justice, who are the experts in competition issues,
called for strict remedies to protect the public interest, because the
alliance will blatantly harm competition and the consumer. The Department
of Transport has chosen to stick two fingers up at them. Millions of
transatlantic travellers will be adversely affected if the alliance
receives final approval.

"In my personal opinion, this draft decision is a real kick in the teeth
for consumers and they will be paying the price for it for years to come.

"I urge the European Commission continue its more consumer focused approach
when it takes its decision in the coming weeks."

Virgin Atlantic needs to study the comments in detail and consider its formal response to the Show Cause Order.

For more information, please contact eddie.hammerman@tvcgroup.com 0207 535 5800

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