The next blockbuster airline deal could happen in Europe. According to a high official at a major U. S. airline, British Airways and the Netherlands' KLM are set to notify European Community antitrust authorities on Nov. 12 that they plan to merge. Both companies have been lobbying the 17-member commission, and at this point, they appear to have nine votes. Even if the EC frowns on the deal, BA and KLM may still agree to cooperate closely.

A merger would create a carrier with a large U. S. presence. Assuming that BA and KLM end up with equity in Northwest and Continental, the combined BA-KLM would have hubs in Minneapolis, Detroit, and Newark.

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