SkyTeam’s Slots Offer to Settle Air-Pact Probe Approved by EU

SkyTeam’s Air France-KLM Group, Delta Air Lines Inc. and Alitalia SpA resolved a European Union antitrust probe by agreeing to give up landing and take-off slots on routes to New York.

The three airlines will make arrival and departure windows available on the Amsterdam-New York and Rome-New York routes, the European Commission said Tuesday in a statement. Skyteam airlines also offered to enter into deals allowing rivals to sell tickets on their flights and give access to frequent-flier programs on both routes as well as Paris-New York.

“The commission had concerns that the cooperation between these airlines may harm competition for all passengers on the Amsterdam-New York and Rome-New York routes and for premium passengers on the Paris-New York route, in breach of EU antitrust rules,” the EU said in a statement.

Carriers are increasingly seeking accords on scheduling and sales to cut costs and boost revenue. Deutsche Lufthansa AG and United Continental Holdings Inc. reached a 2013 settlement with EU regulators, ceding slots between Frankfurt and New York in exchange for approval of their trans-Atlantic venture also involving Air Canada.

A pact involving Oneworld allies British Airways and Iberia of Spain -- now merged as IAG SA -- and American Airlines won EU approval in 2010 in return for the surrender of seven daily slots pairs.

The commission opened a formal investigation into the cooperation of Skyteam members in January 2012 after the settlement of another probe fell through.

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