AMERICAN AIRLINES has blasted critics of the proposed alliance between the US carrier and British Airways, and assailed the "foot-dragging" in securing regulatory approval for the deal.

Bob Crandall, American's chairman and chief executive, has told a congressional panel that the deal, revealed in April 1996, has been more closely scrutinised than any airline alliance in history, while rival carriers which most loudly protested about the arrangement have expanded their own international link-ups.

"The airlines-have done everything possible to thwart approval, even though there is nothing in our proposal that is not present in equal or greater measure in their partnerships," Crandall says.

As a practical matter, rival US carriers are likely to need to have a substantial number of slots transferred to them from American and BA, concludes the GAO. Crandall says the slots need not come from American or BA.

Source: Flight International