UK regulator extends trans-Atlantic competition probe due to pandemic
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FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: British Airways logos are seen on tail fins at Heathrow Airport in west London
FILE PHOTO: British Airways logos are seen on tail fins at Heathrow Airport in west London, Britain, February 23, 2018. REUTERS/Hannah McKay/File Photo

September 17, 2020

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s competition regulator said it will keep open an investigation into competition on UK-US airline routes until the travel industry stabilises, imposing instead interim measures which extend previous commitments.

The Competition and Markets Authority said on Thursday that it now aimed to complete its investigation into competition related to an agreement between British Airways <ICAG.L> and American Airlines <AAL.O> before March 2024.

The interim measures effectively extend the terms of 2010 commitments for an additional three years, said the CMA, adding that it was not worth making an assessment of competition now as that would not reflect the post-pandemic state of competition in the longer-term.

Due to the pandemic and related travel restrictions, trans-Atlantic traffic is operating at very low levels.

(Reporting by Sarah Young; editing by William James)