Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Delta objects to Continental's joining Star Alliance

Delta Air Lines has issued an objection to Continental's plans to leave SkyTeam (of which Delta is also part) in favor of joining the Star Alliance.

In a moment of self-interest that could be classified as absurdity, Delta--which became the world's largest carrier after its namesake got final approval last month to merge with Northwest Airlines--asserted that the change of affiliation would "diminish competition" and "allow Continental and its partners to dominate routes to key markets in China and Brazil."

Along the way, Delta overlooked its own "dominance" of many routes across the United States, as well as its antitrust immunity in pricing and scheduling cooperatively with Air France/KLM.

What should we make of this? A Continental statement issued in response put it well: "It looks like another attempt by the world's largest airline to prevent others from competing with it."

Seriously, how can this argument make sense? Delta doesn't object to the immunity that Continental enjoys as a SkyTeam airline; suddenly it becomes a problem when that immunity shifts to a new alliance?

Ridiculous.

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