BA expects anti-trust immunity by end of October

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British Airways CEO Willie Walsh is confident the carrier's application for anti-trust immunity on transatlantic routes with four Oneworld partners will be approved by both US and European regulators before the end of October.

BA, American Airlines, Finnair, Iberia and Royal Jordanian submitted an application in August 2008 with the US Department of Transportation for anti-trust immunity on flights between North America and Europe. The DOT in late April deemed the application complete and American Airlines executives have already said they expect approval in the second half of this year.

Speaking to analysts and journalists in New York on 26 May, Walsh said: "The file has been closed formally at the end of April. The period of public comments closed on the 18th of May. I remain confident that our case is if not stronger than as strong as ever.

"We look forward to getting the formal results from that in due course. We expect to get that by the end of October at the latest."

The carriers also need anti-trust approval from the European Commission. Although the carriers decided against fast tracking its application with the EC, Walsh expects the process with the EC could also be concluded by the end of October.

"If possible we are trying to align the timing with the US DOT," he says. "I remain very confident our formal application for ATI will succeed."