Codeshares OK'd for Russia flights

The Department of Transportation has granted tentative approval to six U.S. airlines to start offering third-country, codeshare service to Russia.

The DOT invited U.S. carriers to apply for the service this summer, after Russia and the U.S. reached an agreement in July to allow six codeshare routings by passenger carriers.

The agreement allows the airlines to operate the services with airlines in the U.K., Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Finland, Switzerland, Hungary, Italy, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Romania, the Czech Republic, Poland and Austria.

The DOT on Oct. 15 said it would offer one routing apiece to six carriers: American, Continental, Delta, Northwest, United and US Airways.

American had proposed to the DOT that each U.S. carrier should be able to easily switch its opportunities to other European partners and gateways.

"Such flexibility is in the public interest, because it will allow the marketplace to decide the optimum cooperative arrangements between U.S. carriers and their respective European partners," American told the DOT.

But the DOT felt American was looking for the agency to give the airline greater advantage in the market openings. "The department has recognized the value of interalliance competition; American's proposed solution here would leave a single carrier, American, with fully half of the available new opportunities," the DOT said.

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