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Secretary Elaine L. Chao Announces Department of Transportation Tentatively Grants Antitrust Immunity for American-Qantas

Monday, June 3, 2019

Tentative decision is subject to conditions that will protect competition and consumers

WASHINGTON – U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Elaine Chao today announced that the Department has tentatively approved an application by American Airlines and Qantas Airways to operate a joint venture between the United States and Australia/New Zealand. If granted final approval, the carriers will coordinate their planning, pricing, sales, and frequent flyer activities to offer customers a single proposition on trans-Pacific flights, with new options and customer service enhancements.

The proposed action by the Department is described in a Show Cause Order that tentatively approves the joint venture and tentatively makes a grant of antitrust immunity to enable the carriers to implement the arrangements. The Show Cause Order includes conditions that will protect competition, promote public benefits such as additional flights and increased seat availability, and enable the Department to monitor the effects of the joint venture for consumers.

The Department is proposing that American and Qantas report annually on the progress of their commercial cooperation and provide a detailed assessment after seven years. This would undergo a comprehensive, data-driven review by the Department based on clear benchmarks laid out in the Show Cause Order. The proposed joint venture would be the third in these markets.

The Show Cause Order is a first step. Interested parties have 14 calendar days from the service date of the Show Cause Order to file answers and seven (7) business days from that date to file replies at, docket DOT-OST-2018-0030. The Department will then review any comments and prepare a final decision.