American and United still dont have access to Milans Linate Airport
-- and no leverage to make it happen -- following the
Transportation Dept.s dismissal of a complaint the airlines had
filed against Alitalia and the Italian government.
The dismissal in
late July also removes the threat of sanctions against Alitalia
that would have affected some of its U.S. services.
Milan is served
by two airports: Linate, about six miles from the citys center, and
Malpensa, about 29 miles from the citys center.
government promotes Malpensa as an intercontinental hub to
alleviate congestion at Linate, and restricts services to Linate to
point-to-point, intra-European Union flights by airlines in
European Union member states.
United, however, filed a complaint arguing that the application of
the regulation -- or the lack thereof -- had become unbalanced and
At the time they
filed their complaint in November, American and United noted
Italian authorities had rejected their request to place their code
on European airline partner flights to Linate from other European
airports, even though Alitalia was displaying its own code-share
service between Linate and the U.S.
acknowledged that such displays had occurred and had violated the
Linate restrictions, but blamed technical problems within the GDSs
that have since been corrected. In dismissing the U.S. airlines
complaint, the DOT agreed, declaring the record shows unequivocally
that the first asserted advantage [regarding code-sharing services]
no longer exists.
United also complained that Alitalia gained an unfair advantage in
the market by displaying Linate-Rome flights that connected to
Alitalias flights from Rome to the U.S. In dismissing the
complaint, however, DOT officials said they have now established,
through diplomatic exchanges with the Italian government, that
plans are under way to eliminate the second form of asserted
When that is
accomplished, the DOT said, Alitalia no longer will be holding out
Linate-originating service via Rome, although customers still will
be able to book the flights separately.
reporter Andrew Compart, send e-mail to [email protected].