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American Airlines, Qantas withdraw application for anti-trust immunity

Star-Telegram

American Airlines and Qantas Airways announced on Monday that the carriers have withdrawn its application for anti-trust immunity for its partnership.

The two airlines had asked for anti-trust immunity on flights it operates between the U.S. and Australia and New Zealand that would allow the carriers to share revenue and marketing expenses on those routes. The carriers had submitted the application in the summer of 2015 and the DOT tentatively denied the application earlier this month.

American spokesman Matt Miller said the Fort Worth-based carrier is disappointed with the agency’s denial of its application.

“It represents a significant departure from prior DOT decisions, which have long recognized the pro-competitive benefits of combining complementary international networks,” Miller said, noting that other airlines, including Virgin Australia and Delta Air Lines have anti-trust immunity with its partnership. “With the same opportunity, American and Qantas would have been able to compete more effectively and increase consumer benefits in the market.”

Miller added American asked the DOT to extend the 14-day period it had to respond to the agency’s denial but the DOT refused. As a result, American and Qantas chose to withdraw the application.

American currently operates flights between Los Angeles and Sydney and Auckland while Qantas operates a nonstop flight from Dallas/Fort Worth to Sydney. Qantas also has additional flights between the U.S. and Australian destinations and both carriers are part of the oneworld alliance.

Miller said the decision to withdraw the application does not affect any capacity plans at this time and the carriers will continue their existing codeshare and oneworld partnership.

Qantas said that Australian and New Zealand regulators had already approved the alliance and said the DOT’s decision was disappointing.

“Qantas and American Airlines will now separately assess their positions before deciding on next steps. Both carriers are committed to finding ways to work together more closely to deliver benefits to customers that neither could offer alone,” Qantas said in a statement.

Andrea Ahles: 817-390-7631, @Sky_Talk

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