British Airways and American Airlines will have to continue offering slots on three UK-US routes to other airlines for another two years.
The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is currently investigating the Atlantic Joint Business which includes BA, its IAG sister airlines Iberia and Aer Lingus, American Airlines and Finnair.
Currently four daily slots have been released by BA and American until March 2024, including two between London and Boston, as well as one slot on both the London-Dallas Fort Worth and London-Miami routes.
Now, the CMA is to require these slots to continue to be offered to competitors until 2026 on an interim basis, due to the investigation being delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“As a result of these unprecedented circumstances, the CMA is not in a position to complete its investigation in advance of the expiry of the 2020 interim measures in March 2024,” said the CMA in a statement.
“A tender process will take place in autumn 2023 for the remedy slots for the additional two years.”
Currently United and Delta hold one slot each between London and Boston, while Delta has also secured the London-Dallas slot and Virgin Atlantic the London-Miami slot.
“The 2022 interim measures issued by the CMA will expire in March 2026, by which time it is expected that the airline sector should be in a more stable position,” added the CMA.
“The CMA plans to complete its investigation and, if appropriate, put in place a longer-term remedy, before the interim measures expire.”