COMPETITION regulators have launched a probe into a transatlantic pricing deal between British Airways, Iberia, American Airlines and Finnair.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is investigating a series of commitments made by the quartet to the EU, which allow them to co-operate on pricing, capacity and schedules.
The Atlantic Joint Business Agreement (AJBA) was struck in 2010 to address competition concerns raised by Brussels.
The CMA said in a statement:
“This case is at an early stage and no assumption should be made that the AJBA infringes competition law.”
British Airways and Iberia’s owner, IAG, said the transatlantic accord had “enhanced customers’ travel choices” and provided “cheaper fares.”
IAG pledged to respond to the CMA’s reviewing, adding:
“Since 2010, British Airways and Iberia’s transatlantic joint business with American Airlines and Finnair has been bringing significant benefits to millions of travellers.”
Shares in IAG fell 2.3 per cent this morning (Thursday) to 577 pence, their lowest for a year.
The CMA said that it decided to study the partnership as commitments made by the airlines under a European Union competition probe from 2010 will expire in 2020.
By that time, the UK will no longer be part of the EU and its competition authorities are more likely to review international agreements.