Faced with growing congressional opposition, the Transportation Department (DoT) might delay adoption of its crucial proposed final rule on foreign ownership of and investment in US airlines. Under Secretary of Transportation Jeff Shane says “DOT is exploring whether a further period of review might be justified.”
Shane told an aviation law conference in
Failure to adopt the new US-EU agreement would actually be he fears “a ‘triple-whammy.’ That’s because, if we lose the open-skies bilaterals, we face the very real prospect of dismantling the cross-border alliance structure upon which so much international aviation competition is based today. That is because the antitrust immunity that facilitates the efficient operation of many of the current (airline) alliances is necessarily predicated on the underlying open-skies agreements.” Without legally secure open-skies agreements “it is very difficult for regulators to justify a grant of immunity from antitrust enforcement to airlines who are potential competitors,” Shane said.
Members of a key Senate appropriations panel have won approval of a measure that would effectively bar the government from implementing the rule, which would commit regulators in