SANTIAGO Nov 22 Chile's FNE competition
regulator said a joint-business agreement that
Santiago-headquartered LATAM Airlines inked with American
Airlines Group Inc and IAG's British Airways and Iberia risks
increasing fares and lowering quality on routes.
The opinion, in a 163-page document elaborated by the FNE
and seen by Reuters on Tuesday, could increase the chances that
Chile's TDLC anti-monopoly court nixes the deal.
The agreement between LATAM, American, and IAG seeks to help
the airlines coordinate schedules and prices for flights,
similar to the North Atlantic revenue-sharing agreement which
already exists between IAG and American Airlines
"The present operation creates a risk of increasing fares
and decreasing the quality of routes encompassed in the
geographical area of the agreement since both parties would be
acting as a single economic agent, with important market
participations," the document said.
LATAM said in a statement that the agreement would
benefit passengers with lower fares, access to a bigger network
of destinations, better itineraries and flight connections.
In Chile, the TDLC, a separate judicial body, will have the
final word on whether the agreement restricts or endangers
"LATAM is confident that the TDLC will recognize the
benefits of this agreement for Chile," LATAM said.
(Reporting by Felipe Iturrieta and Antonio de la Jara; Writing
by Anthony Esposito; Editing by Alan Crosby)