Virgin Atlantic said on Wednesday that it wants the Department of Transportation to either deny American Airlines and British Airways joint venture or impose harsher conditions on the two airlines.
The British carrier, founded by Richard Branson, submitted comments to the DOT arguing against the DOT's preliminary ruling that it will approve the American/BA anti-trust immunity application.
"The DOT seems determined to approve an agreement which threatens severe competitive and consumer harm and one of the primary justifications seems to be to preserve parity amongst the large global alliances," Branson said in a statement. "This is not a reason for approval."
In its preliminary approval, the DOT proposed that American and British Airways give up two slots between Boston and London-Heathrow and another two slots between London-Heathrow and two undetermined U.S. airports.
"The number of slots the DOT has suggested should be given up is entirely inadequate and the idea that BA and AA's competitors should lease slots from them, asking competitors to potentially pay to right the consumer wrong for BA and AA is astonishing," Branson said.
Virgin Atlantic has submitted similar comments to the European Commission which is studying a slot-pair proposal by American and British Airways where the carriers would give up slots on routes between London Heathrow and London Gatwick to Boston, New York, Miami and Dallas/Fort Worth in exchange for anti-trust immunity.