British Airways to Begin Joint Venture with American Next Month


British Airways (BAIRY) will begin a joint venture next month on flights across the Atlantic with American Airlines (AMR), after nearly 13 years of planning.

The carriers will align their frequent-flier programs, allowing travelers to earn and use miles on the two airlines, Bloomberg News said. They will coordinate their schedule in 2011, then add new destinations in the U.S. and Europe.

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"We're very excited about that," Simon Talling-Smith, British Airways' vice president for the Americas, told Bloomberg News. "We're going to work a lot harder with the other airlines to make sure that when our customers connect at key airports, like Chicago, like London, New York or Madrid, that the connection is a lot smoother."

British Airways and American Airlines won regulatory approval for the deal in July, after regulators blocked the planned link-up in 1997 and 2001. Together, the two will control almost half of U.S. flights at Heathrow Airport.