WASHINGTON -- Continental blasted the Transportation Department for
again delaying a decision on the proposed alliance between
Continental, Delta and Northwest.
Continental accused the DOT of an "attempt to hold our alliance
hostage in order to support the unfounded allegations of an airline
partly owned by the U.S. government."
But, the criticism appears to have missed the mark in at least
Continental referred to a complaint filed by America West that
Continental responded unfairly when America West changed its fare
structure in March. Continental said the DOT "is inappropriately
linking its review [of the alliance] with unrelated, unfounded
allegations of a competitor."
The government, however, does not own any of America West.
America West, as a condition of its federal loan guarantee, did
agree to give the government the option to buy as much as a 33%
stake in the carrier.
The government, however, has not yet exercised any of that
option, according to the DOT and America West.
Also, an America West spokeswoman said the airline has not filed
a formal complaint against Continental. The airline did talk to the
DOT about the response of several major airlines to its fare
structure, however, and the DOT recently asked for more
information, she said.
The DOT, in extending its review of the three-way alliance until
Jan. 20, in part cited "complaints that the three airlines have
allegedly engaged in anticompetitive conduct in the recent