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ASBTA Filing with U.S. DOT Supports Increased Global Air Alliance Competition Through Immunity.

Cites 2009 Airline Partnership Survey That Found Majority of Small Businesses Want More Competition among Airline Alliances

ABSTA Expects Immunity Will Bring Positive Benefits Such as Flexible Flight Schedules and More Fare Options

LEWISVILLE, Texas -- American Small Business Travelers Alliance (ASBTA) today filed a letter of support with U.S. Department of Transportation for the five oneworld([R]) alliance members who have applied for antitrust immunity citing that a majority of small businesses surveyed said they will benefit if the federal government were to grant immunity and create a third, immunized alliance.

According the survey conducted in February 2009 by ASBTA - a national organization dedicated to serving and educating small business travelers by providing information regarding travel and mobile technology - an overwhelming percentage of small business travelers feel they would benefit from more global competition among air alliances. The survey also revealed that small businesses believe that allowing more airlines to partner together will help lower costs and offer greater travel flexibility and those airlines should be able to compete for their business on an equal regulatory footing.

"The results of the survey demonstrate that small businesses want a competitive third choice for air travel that can only be obtained by leveling the playing field," said Chuck Sharp, President of ASBTA. "Approval of the application for antitrust immunity filed by American Airlines, British Airways, Iberia, Finnair and Royal Jordanian will benefit small businesses by enabling oneworld([R]) to compete on a level playing field with the Star and SkyTeam alliances," said Sharp in the filing.

ASBTA believes having a third immunized alliance will have a positive impact on air travel by offering travelers, such as small businesses, more service, scheduling and pricing options and will help to ensure that small business travelers, as well as the consumers in general, have the benefit of three competitive air alliances.

The February 2009 survey, which included responses from more than 330 small business travelers (SBT), found that:

* 83 percent would like to see increased competition to the Star and SkyTeam network alliances for trans-Atlantic flights

* 88 percent would like to see airlines partner together to provide more flexibility in their business travel options

* 92 percent believe allowing more airlines to partner would benefit small businesses

* 94 percent would like to have the ability to use their airline miles across multiple airlines

* 93 percent would value the ability to purchase "combinable fares" that allow travel in one direction on one carrier, with the return flight on another member of the alliance

* 87 percent would like to have more flexibility with flight schedules and connections on trans-Atlantic flights

* 77 percent think having more flexibility with flight schedules/connections on trans-Atlantic flights will help reduce costs

* 90 percent would like all airlines to compete on equal regulatory footing - (having the same rules applied for all airlines)

About ASBTA:

ASBTA is a national organization dedicated to serving and educating small business travelers by providing information regarding travel and mobile technology. If you're a small business owner and want to learn more or become a member for free, visit our website: Members of the media can receive a free copy of survey results by contacting ASBTA by phone at 469-648-0190 or email at
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:May 13, 2009
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