Tue, Dec 02, 2008
Anything We Can Do... You Shouldn't Be Able To Do, Too?
Delta Air Lines has now absorbed
Northwest Airlines to become the world's biggest airline, and has
received anti-trust exemptions from the federal government to form
alliances to extend its reach even further. But Delta has filed a
formal objection to a similar anti-trust immunity request from
The Washington Post reports Continental wants to partner with
United and Lufthansa on transatlantic flights, and eventually on
trips to Latin America and Asia. Delta says that would allow unfair
dominance on routes to Brazil and China, where Continental and its
partners are already successful.
Continental spokeswoman Mary Clark responded to the blocking
move by Delta, hinting at hypocrisy. "It looks like another attempt
by the world's largest airline to prevent others from competing
with it," she said. "We are confident the government will see
through Delta's attempt to suppress competition."
Continental, Lufthansa and United are part of the Star Alliance,
along with almost two-dozen other airlines worldwide. Delta, Air
France-KLM, Korean Air and others have an alliance called SkyTeam.
Alliances are seen as a path to many of the advantages of a formal
merger without all the messy details, and may allow collaboration
across national borders, where mergers would not be allowed.
American Airlines, which was recently dethroned as the world's
largest by the Delta/Northwest merger, has also applied for
anti-trust immunity, so it can partner with British Airways and
Spain's Iberia on transatlantic routes.
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