May 1, 2009

American Airlines christens Madrid route

American Airlines began service to Madrid from Dallas/Fort Worth Airport Friday, despite lacking approval for its request for immunity from antitrust laws.

American Airlines launched the new route despite lacking approval from federal regulators on its proposal for immunity from antitrust laws on trans-Atlantic flights with Spanish carrier Iberia and British Airways, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported. If approved, American and Iberia could coordinate schedules, marketing and operations on flights between their hubs in a manner federal law now bars.

The U.S. Department of Transportation earlier this week opened the request for immunity to solicit public comment, starting a six-month timetable for a decision, the newspaper said.

American said the new route could mean its passengers may find making connections to European, Middle Eastern and African cities easier.

Madrid is one of the best connecting airports in the world, American's Senior Vice President of Planning Henry Joyner said.

Texas first lady Anita Perry led a trade delegation to Madrid on the inaugural flight.