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

Friday, July 19, 2019

WASHINGTON – U.S.Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao today announced that the U.S. Department of Transportation has given final approval to an application by American Airlines and Qantas Airways to operate a joint venture between the United States and Australia/New Zealand. The decision is contained in a Final Order adopting the tentative decision published on June 3, 2019.  The carriers are now expected to begin coordinating 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.

This action represents the first complete review of an airline joint venture proposal by the Administration.  The Final 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 requiring that American and Qantas report annually on the progress of their commercial cooperation and provide a detailed assessment after seven years. This assessment would undergo a comprehensive, data-driven review by the Department based on clear benchmarks laid out in the Final Order. The joint venture would be the third in the U.S.-Australasia market.

The Final Order can be accessed in a public docket at by searching for “Docket DOT-OST-2018-0030.”