1 JULY 2013
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Virgin Atlantic has another semi-sibling, this time a little closer than Virgin Blue and Virgin Australia.
Delta Air Lines purchase of almost 49% of Virgin Atlantic was completed last week allowing the two carriers to cross-sell tickets (see BTN 24 June). With Sir Richard Branson extremely visible at all joint activities the new relationship is likely to be much more commercially aggressive than with Virgin’s previous part-owner Singapore Air Lines.
Delta paid US$360m (£233m) to buy Singapore Airlines’ 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic, with Sir Richard Branson retaining his 51% holding.
Ed Bastian, boss of Atlanta-based Delta, said that the firms will share flight codes on more than 100 routes.
The EU and the US Department of Justice approved the sale last week, six months after it was first announced. Technically the airlines need to wait until the US transport authorities give the green light before starting a fully-fledged joint venture on transatlantic flights and this may well wait until the April start of the airline 2014 summer season.
Delta, a member of Skyteam, is in Heathrow T4, unaligned Virgin in T3 (which currently has no domestic gates) and Virgin Little Red in T1, which becomes T2 on 4 June 2014. How it all finishes up is open for discussion. www.delta.com www.virgin-atlantic.com
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