The EC has conditionally approved the planned marketing and ticketing alliance of British Airways and American Airlines. The quid pro quo is that the duo surrenders 267 take-off and landing slots at Heathrow and Gatwick - equivalent to some twenty round-trips daily. The parties were given thirty days to respond and BA's Robert Ayling lost no time in whinging to the press, wrapping himself in the Union Jack as he is prone to do - when it suits his book: 'Some of the terms being proposed by Brussels are too harsh and would penalise the airline and Britain unfairly. Every lost slot means lost flights, lost business, lost service for customers.'