Competition watchdog to study British Airways alliance


LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s competition watchdog will investigate a partnership between British Airways and other airlines on transatlantic routes ahead of the 2020 expiry of a previous deal, the regulator said on Thursday.

British Airways, American Airlines (O:AAL), Iberia and Finnair (HE:FIA1S) form the Atlantic Joint Business Agreement, a revenue-sharing joint venture that covers routes between Europe and North America and allows the partners to co-operate on pricing, capacity and schedules.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), however, said it would open an investigation of the agreement, adding that the case is at an early stage and no assumption should be made that partnership infringes competition law.

Shares in IAG (L:ICAG), which owns British Airways and Iberia, fell 2.3 percent to 577 pence at 0947 GMT, their lowest for a year and underperforming Britain’s blue-chip index, which was down 1.7 percent.

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