01 July 1998

THE PLANNED marketing and ticketing alliance between British Airways and American Airlines should not be allowed to merge their respective frequent flyer schemes, the EC has ruled. Changes are also demanded to the methods used to ‘reward’ travel agents, and to the way both airlines’ flights are presented on computer reservation systems [these are currently designed to occupy the whole screen, so that no details of competitors’ flights can be seen]. The requirements for EC approval of the alliance were published in its official journal on 30 July. This also reveals, for the first time, details of the routes on which the airlines must relinquish take-off and landing slots - 267 in total, both at Heathrow and Gatwick. The aim is allow competitors up to 55% of flights on these routes. As to the frequent flyer schemes, the EC gives BA and AA a choice: either they refrain from pooling these or they allow other transatlantic airlines without such schemes to participate in their programme.