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The decision to give up slots at Heathrow and in Philadelphia flies in the face of the airlines’ previous refusal to do so, but it was inevitable that they’d have to sacrifice something on the road to approval.
AMR Corp’s American Airlines and US Airways will win EU approval for a $11 billion merger to become the world’s largest carrier after agreeing to surrender slots on one route, three persons familiar with the matter said on Monday.
The airlines offered to give up slots at Heathrow and Philadelphia airports earlier this month after the European Commission raised competition concerns over the route.
“The deal is set to be approved,” one source said.
The European Commission is scheduled to decide on the planned merger by August 6. Commission spokesman Ryan Heath declined to comment on the EU competition authority’s decision.
U.S. regulators are also examining the tie-up, the fourth involving major U.S. carriers in the last six years which could help accelerate the recovery in the airline industry as the few remaining players get more power to raise fares.
Reporting by Foo Yun Chee and editing by Justyna Pawlak and David Cowell.