A Qantas Airways Airbus A330-300 jet takes off from Sydney International Airport over the city skyline, December 18, 2015.     REUTERS/Jason Reed/File photo

A Qantas Airways Airbus A330-300 jet takes off from Sydney International Airport over the city skyline, December 18, 2015. REUTERS/Jason Reed/File photo (Copyright Reuters 2016)

U.S. tentatively blocks expansion of American Airlines-Qantas alliance

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The U.S. Transportation Department said on Friday it had tentatively denied the application of Americans Airlines Inc and Qantas Airways Ltd to expand their alliance for services between the United States and Australia and New Zealand.

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In a statement, the department said it had "tentatively found that the expanded alliance would create a potentially anticompetitive environment given the scale of the resulting joint business."

It said consumers would have few remaining competitive options if the alliance were expanded.

(Reporting by Timothy Ahmann; Editing by David Alexander)