Appeal brought on 26 February 2021 by American Airlines, Inc. against the judgment of the General Court (First Chamber, Extended Composition) delivered on 16 December 2020 in Case T-430/18, American Airlines v Commission

(Case C-127/21 P)

Language of the case: English


Appellant: American Airlines, Inc. (represented by: J.-P. Poitras, avocat, J. Ruiz Calzado, abogado, J. Wileur, avocat)

Other parties to the proceedings: European Commission, Delta Air Lines, Inc.

Form of order sought

The appellant claims that the Court should:

set aside and annul the judgment under appeal;

annul Commission Decision C(2017) 2788 final of 30 April 2018;

in the alternative, if deemed necessary, remand the case to the General Court for reconsideration in accordance with the Court’s judgment;

order the Commission to bear its own costs and pay the appellant’s costs, both for these proceedings and the proceedings before the General Court;

take any other measures that the Court considers appropriate.

Pleas in law and main arguments

In support of its action, the appellant relies on a single plea in law that the General Court committed an error of law in accepting the Commission’s flawed legal interpretation that the “appropriate use” test in Clause 1.10 of the American-US Airways merger commitments (“Commitments”) means only “absence of misuse” and thereby the judgment incorrectly upheld Commission Decision C(2017) 2788 final of 30 April 2018 granting Grandfathering rights to Delta Airlines (Case M.6607 – US Airways/American Airlines).

The plea has three limbs:

In the first limb, the appellant focuses on the correct legal approach to interpreting the “appropriate use” test for the award of Grandfathering rights under Clause 1.10 of the Commitments and demonstrates that the General Court erred in law in its interpretative approach.

In the second limb, the appellant demonstrates that General Court further erred in law by accepting the Commission’s analysis that “appropriate use” means only “absence of misuse” thereby incorrectly accepting Delta’s failure to operate 470 remedy slots.

In the third limb, the appellant explains the additional legal errors of the judgment in interpreting Clause 1.9 of the Commitments, specifically the wording “in accordance with the bid” based on a flawed legal analysis of the Form RM.