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December 25, 2009

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Home » Business » Transport

Airlines seek approval for sharing flights

UNITED Airlines, Continental, and All Nippon Airways have applied for antitrust approval so they can work together more closely on flights across the Pacific.

The three carriers already sell tickets on each other's planes as partners in the Star Alliance, which Continental joined in October. But they want to form a joint venture that would strengthen their financial ties.

Antitrust laws usually keep businesses from coordinating prices and schedules. But the government can grant immunity from those laws in certain cases, if it decides that consumers would benefit more from businesses working together. The airlines said on Wednesday that if their immunity application is approved, they will jointly manage trans-Pacific activities including schedules, prices, and sales.

The carriers said the proposed joint venture would be the first of its kind between the United States and Asia, and that it would help them compete with other big airlines in Tokyo.

United competes head-to-head on Asia flights with Northwest Airlines, now a part of Delta Air Lines Inc.

Continental won immunity in July to work with United Airlines, despite objections by the Justice Department.

However, immunity was not extended to several international routes.


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