EU accepts deal with Air Canada, United, Lufthansa
(BRUSSELS) - The European Commission said on Thursday it had accepted and would make legally binding the commitments made by Star Alliance members Air Canada, United and Lufthansa to satisfy its anti-trust concerns on the New York-Frankfurt route.
The Commission was concerned that premium passengers -- those in first, business or flexible economy classes -- would be disadvantaged by the three airlines' revenue-sharing joint venture on the Frankfurt-New York route.
"In order to address these concerns, the parties offered to make slots available at Frankfurt and New York airports and to enter into agreements with competitors, allowing them to offer more attractive services," it said.
"As a result, competition on the Frankfurt-New York route will improve," it said in a statement, adding that the commitments would be legally binding for 10 years.
"The Commission is committed to ensuring that consumers are not harmed by cooperation between airlines," EU Competition Commissioner Joaquín Almunia said in the statement.
In 2010, the Commission accepted similar commitments by several members of the rival Oneworld airline grouping and noted that it is also currently investigating the transatlantic joint venture between certain members of the SkyTeam group.