The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority has announced a three-year extension of the current the Atlantic Joint Business Agreement (AJBA) between American Airlines, British Airways, Iberia, Finnair and Aer Lingus.
Since 2018, the CMA has been investigating the impact the agreement has had on customers on US-UK routes from the loss of competition. In May American and IAG member carrier British Airways agreed to give up a number of London-US slots to address competition concerns.
However CMA ruled that, given “the uncertainty created by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the aviation sector,” it would not be appropriate for the airlines to vacate the slots at this time.
Instead the regulators have effectively extended the current agreement which was up for renewal in 2020 for an additional three years to March 2024. By then the CMA said “it is expected that the airline sector should be in a more stable position.”
In the meantime the authority will complete its investigations, “and, if appropriate, put in place a longer-term remedy, before the interim measures expire.”