DELTA AIR LINES, Swissair, Austrian Airlines and Sabena have filed for US anti-trust immunity, allowing for closer co-operation between the carriers, once Belgium signs an "open-skies" air-services agreement with the USA. Northwest Airlines and KLM already have anti-trust immunity.

Delta now has code-sharing/blocked-space agreements with the three European airlines, and Switzerland and Austria have signed open-skies agreements with the USA.

Without anti-trust immunity, the carriers are limited to co-operation on schedule co-ordination, passenger handling and frequent-flyer programmes. Joint marketing is not allowed.

Delta has a 4.6% shareholding in Swissair under the Gobal Quality Alliance with Singapore Airlines.

Swissair, meanwhile, has a 10% cross-shareholding in Austrian and, in July, acquired 49.5% of Sabena.

Source: Flight International