The chairman of British Airways warns Oneworld could break up if the alliance does not get antitrust immunity from the U.S. Transportation Department this year, which would let American and BA coordinate their fares and schedules. But some complications involving the person President-elect Barack Obama is nominating for Transportation Secretary could delay a DOT decision on the issue.
Some potentially ominous signs from Hitwise regarding online travel searches in the UK. The news making the headlines is the precipitous 42% year-over-year drop in post-Christmas flight searches. But the Hitwise analyst who posted the news subsquently said the most interesting part of the story is what appears to be the UK consumers' shift in destinations away from the U.S. and parts of Europe to relatively cheaper locations with more favorable exchange rates, such as Turkey. The ABTA, which represents travel agents and tour operators in Europe, is noticing a shift, too. One thing to watch now is whether the reduction tracked by Hitwise for the week following Christmas holds up for the next report on the early January period, when people have returned to work and might use their computers there for flight searches.
Continental completed the first biofuel-powered demonstration flight in the U.S. Jan. 7 using a mixture of refined jatropha and algae. Read the AWIN First subscriber-only story here. Air New Zealand did a flight Dec. 30 and Japan Airlines is scheduled to do one Jan. 30, a pace of testing and progress that was unthinkable just two years ago, as Aviation Week's Graham Warwick reports.
Air France-KLM appears to be getting closer to acquiring a 25% stake in the restructured Alitalia.