14 May 2009

Latest Airline TLA/Buzzword - ATI

So the airlines all want it - legislators (as if they don't have enough to do are very happy to enjoy this distraction) - what the heck am I talking about ATI?


So frankly I am not a huge fan of creating specific exemptions from good laws. Anti-Trust Immunity means that you are engaging in a practice that you freely admit is anti-Trust (and therefore against the law) yet you want to be exempt so you can engage in something that well is not exactly consumer friendly.

I prefer Black and White. Grey/Gray is not a good color combination.

At the moment there is a significant debate driven largely by Continental's shift from Skyteam to Star and by the expansion of the 3 big alliances. BA-AA-IB (that's BAAABI to regulars of this blog) is still out there. Now the BTC has thrown its voice in support of AA in this manner.

So let's see if I get this right. Several OneWorld airlines are requesting ATI so that they can combine their resources at LHR and across the Atlantic (in normal times among the most profitable routes on the planet), OK fair enough so far. But by combining them - they have a footprint that is at least bigger than all their competitors combined? The justification? the other ATI players have bigger footprints in their home markets. Following their logic this safeguards competition?

Sorry I just don't and cannot buy that argument.

Interestingly enough Air Transport World in their latest editorial penned by Perry Flint is voicing its objection to the EC proposal to make the ATI automatically reviewed at least every 3 years.

I really think that we need to have good competition. We need to have fair competition. I am against ATI. I hope that in future - there will be a clear formula that can emerge that will allow airlines to compete truly competitively without Government Intervention except for consumer protection.

Right now I don't see it. I guess I am more in the Richard Branson camp on this one.

This is going to be a battle that will run for some time yet. May the fairest of them all win out.


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