October 21, 2014 / 9:49 AM / 3 years ago

Air France KLM, Delta, Alitalia offer concessions to settle EU probe

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Skyteam alliance partners Air France KLM, Delta Air Lines and Alitalia have offered to give up slots at three airports and made other concessions to try to settle an EU antitrust investigation, the European Commission said on Tuesday.

Customers wait their turn to be served in a line at the Delta airlines office in Caracas July 7, 2014. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

The carriers found themselves in the Commission’s sights in January 2012, after the EU competition authority said their alliance, involving profit-sharing and joint management of prices and capacity, may push up prices on the Paris-New York, Amsterdam-New York and Rome-New York routes.

The Skyteam alliance, which allow its 20 member airlines to team up via code-sharing agreements to boost the number of flights they offer to certain destinations, competes with Oneworld and Star Alliance.

The Commission said the three carriers offered to give up slots at Amsterdam, New York and Rome airports.

“The commitments are primarily aimed at enabling competing airlines to start operating or extend existing operations on the affected routes by lowering barriers to entry or expansion,” the EU competition watchdog said in a statement.

The carriers are also prepared to let rivals sell tickets on their flights and facilitate their access to connecting traffic. The Commission said it would seek feedback from third parties before deciding whether to accept the concessions.

Oneworld members British Airways, American Airlines and Iberia offered similar concessions in 2010 to settle an EU probe while Star Alliance members Lufthansa, United Airlines [UALCO.UL] and Air Canada did the same in 2013.

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; editing by Adrian Croft/Keith Weir

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