Nov 28 American Airlines Group Inc and
Australia's Qantas Airways Ltd have dropped their bid
to coordinate prices and flight schedules, according to a filing
submitted to the U.S. Transportation Department on Monday.
The decision comes after the department tentatively denied
the airlines' request earlier this month. Air travelers would
have few remaining competitive options if the alliance were
expanded, "given the scale of the resulting joint business," the
Transportation Department had said.
The carriers submitted their application in June 2015,
several months before American started flights between the
United States and Australia. The partners had been marketing
flights on routes that the other did not offer, and requested
immunity from U.S. antitrust law in order to coordinate their
operations going forward.
The existing "codeshare" marketing arrangements remain in
place, Qantas said in a statement.
Explaining the reason for the application withdrawal,
American said, "When the Department of Transportation issued its
(tentative ruling) it was clear it would take longer than the 14
days they gave us to respond, and the DOT refused to give us an
extension to fully demonstrate the benefits of our position."
The airlines said they were disappointed with the U.S.
decision. They maintained that their enhanced alliance would
have benefited consumers and pointed to the approval for other
airlines to coordinate prices on flights between the United
States and Australia.
The carriers will now consider their positions separately
before determining their next move, Qantas said.
(Reporting by Jeffrey Dastin in Los Angeles and Tom Westbrook
in Sydney; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)