The US Department of Transportation on Wednesday tentatively approved antitrust immunity for alliances between American Airlines and Japan Airlines, and between United Airlines, Continental Airlines and All Nippon Airways.
If the decision becomes final, the members of each alliance would be able to more closely coordinate on international operations in transpacific markets.
Parties have 21 calendar days to comment and seven business days to file answers. After that period, the DOT will review all filings and issue a final decision.
The trans-Pacific market is lucrative for major US airlines that cater to business travelers.
United and Continental merged last week to create the world's largest airline.