EU Edges Airlines Nearer Deal
Dec. 18, 1997
BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) _ British Airways and American Airlines should make an extra effort in European Union talks about their planned alliance, an EU regulator said Thursday.
``We're still considerably away from agreement,'' anti-trust chief Karel Van Miert said. ``I want to convey the message that extra effort should be made. This has to happen rather sooner than later, one way or another.''
The carriers want essentially to operate as one over the Atlantic, setting prices, coordinating flight schedules and pooling profits. To do so, they must win approval of EU and American regulators.
The European Commission's investigation of the alliance has dragged on for well over a year, bogging down over takeoff and landing slots at London's Heathrow airport.
Van Miert wants the two air carriers to concede some 350 slots at the airport, something both have rejected as excessive. Van Miert also wants the slots to be given to rival carriers. BA and AA want to sell any divested slots at market price.