American Airlines, British Airways, and Iberia have recently signed a joint business agreement on flights between North America and Europe and plan to expand their global cooperation.
The new business relationship aims to benefit consumers by providing easier and more seamless travel routes to global destinations with better connections, improved flight schedules, and enhanced frequent flyer benefits.
Consumer benefits cited
According to the three airlines, the agreement will help to improve customer choice by enabling the Oneworld Global Alliance (of which American Airlines, British Airways and Iberia are all key members) to compete more effectively around the world with other global alliances.
Under the new agreement, the three airlines plan to cooperate commercially on flights between the United States, Mexico, and Canada, as well as the European Union, Switzerland, and Norway, while still continuing to operate as separate legal entities. They have also promised to expand their codeshare arrangements for flights both within and outside of the EU and US.
Frequent flyer benefits
By working together to provide links for connecting passengers, the airlines will be able to extend customer choice by supporting routes that would not be economically viable for the individual airlines.
Customers will also benefit from new and extended opportunities to earn and redeem frequent flyer miles and Elite tier benefits for flights worldwide, as well as continued reciprocal airport lounge access.
Antitrust immunity sought
The airlines have said that they plan to file for worldwide antitrust immunity from the US Department of Transportation, and that they will also notify the appropriate regulatory authorities in the European Union. In addition, Oneworld members Finnair and Royal Jordanian will be included in the antitrust immunity application.
According to the airlines, the agreement will enable Oneworld to compete more effectively with rival global air alliances that have already received transatlantic antitrust immunity (including six airlines in SkyTeam and nine Star Alliance airlines).