The U.K.'s Competition and Markets Authority has launched an
investigation into the transatlantic joint venture comprising of American
Airlines, British Airways, Iberia and Finnair.
Those airlines are permitted to share revenue and coordinate
pricing and scheduling on transatlantic routes.
The agency decided to do the review because the U.K.'s scheduled
exit from the European Union means that joint-venture routes between Britain
and the U.S. will no longer be subject to European Commission review.
"This case is at an early stage and no assumption
should be made that the [joint venture] infringes competition law," the Competition
and Markets Authority said.
In a 2010 review, the European Commission found potential
competition concerns on six routes operated by the alliance, including five
between London and U.S cities. As a result, the alliance partners made 10-year
commitments to make landing rights available at London Gatwick or London
Heathrow. The European Commission may reassess that agreement in 2020 but it is
not required to do so.
The Competition and Markets Authority estimates that its
investigation will be completed next March.