‘Tentative’ approval was given Wednesday by the US Department of Transportation for a code-sharing deal between Oneworld Alliance partners American Airlines and British Airways.

The duo have long sought a joint marketing and ticketing venture with antitrust immunity but this has been sternly resisted by US regulators. The current concession, although welcomed by the two carriers, is a watered-down placebo and will not long satisfy their ambitions.

The DoT warned that its nod will not allow the airlines to collude on setting prices, planning capacity and networks; nor to share revenues and profits. This would be possible only if granted antitrust immunity, which in turn is conditional on the signing of a so-called ‘open skies’ agreement between the US and UK.

However, the European Commission has effectively banned member states from entering into such deals, believing that it should strike an EU-wide agreement with the US from a position of equal negotiating strength.

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff