British Airways, American Set to Start Joint Venture Next Month
By Steve Rothwell - Sep 8, 2010 3:07 AM MT
British Airways and American won approval for the tie-up from antitrust regulators in July on their third try, after rejections in 1997 and 2001. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg
British Airways Plc’s joint venture with AMR Corp.’s American Airlines on flights across the Atlantic, almost 13 years in the making, will start next month, the U.K. airline’s vice president for the Americas said.
The two carriers will align their frequent-flier programs as soon as the venture starts, allowing travelers to earn and use their miles on both airlines, Simon Talling-Smith said in an interview yesterday. The companies then plan to coordinate their schedule next year before adding new destinations in the U.S. and Europe.
“We’re very excited about that,” Talling-Smith said by phone. “We’re going to work a lot harder with the other airlines to make sure that when our customers connect at key airports, like Chicago, like London, New York or Madrid, that the connection is a lot smoother.”
British Airways, Europe’s third-largest carrier, and American, based in Fort Worth, Texas, won approval for the tie- up from antitrust regulators in July on their third try, after rejections in 1997 and 2001. The alliance will control almost 50 percent of U.S. flights at London’s Heathrow Airport.
Iberia Lineas Aereas de Espana SA, the Spanish airline that is scheduled to complete its merger with London-based British Airways by the end of this year, is also part of the joint venture and will contribute about 10 percent of the venture’s estimated $7 billion in annual revenue, Talling-Smith said.
British Airways is today starting its second “Face-to- Face” competition. The promotion, in its second year, offers free European trips to 250 U.S. small businesses seeking to develop relationships globally.
To contact the reporter on this story: Steve Rothwell in London at email@example.com.