AMERICAN AIRLINES (AA) says that rival carrier United Airlines is "hypocritical and unprincipled" in its position on international airline alliances.

The airline's comments were contained in a Department of Transportation filing over United's request for anti-trust immunity to allow it to pursue a marketing pact with Air Canada. Although not opposed to the alliance, American objected to United's "blatant double standard." American says that United's approach is inconsistent since it opposed American's alliance with Canadian Airlines International (CAI) on several grounds, including size.

American says that a United/Air Canada deal would overshadow the AA/CAI alliance.

United also opposes American's attempt to link with British Airways on the grounds that the two carriers would control too many slots at London Heathrow Airport. "United and Lufthansa have far more slots at Frankfurt than American and BA would have at Heathrow," says American.

"United has sought anti-trust immunity to create alliances with Lufthansa, Air Canada and SAS - all large monopoly, or near-monopoly, carriers," adds American.

Source: Flight International