American Airlines and its oneworld partner Qantas are a step closer to being allowed to act as a single airline for flights between the U.S. and Down Under, but there's still a hurdle in the way.
The agreement, which was rejected by the Obama Administration was refiled last year, would allow the two airlines to coordinate schedules and codeshares, as well as coordinate pricing. The Department of Transportation has indicated it has no objections, but the table is now open for objections from others before a final ruling.
The initial rejection was based on the idea it would diminish competition on the routes. The objections came from JetBlue and Hawaiian airlines last time. Significantly, there were no complaints from the other two U.S. legacy airlines, which have joint ventures in the area themselves, United with Air New Zealand and Delta with Virgin Australia.
AA and Qantas say that if they aren't approved to act as one, they will each be forced to run fewer flights with smaller planes.