by Michael J. Shapiro | February 17, 2010

The U.S. Department of Transportation proposed Saturday to grant antitrust immunity to the airline partners of the Oneworld alliance, which include American Airlines, British Airways, Iberia Airlines, Finnair and Royal Jordanian Airlines. The immunity would allow the airlines to coordinate their international operations more closely. Under the proposal, the participating carriers must agree to conditions that protect consumers and preserve competition; they also would have to make four pairs of slots available to competitors for new U.S.-Heathrow service, and submit traffic data to demonstrate capacity growth efforts. Objections to the proposal are due within 45 days. Two other airline alliances, Star and SkyTeam, already enjoy antitrust immunity.