Virgin Atlantic, Delta, and Air France to expand strategic partnership and trounce transatlantic flight competitors
Virgin Atlantic, Delta Air Lines, and Air France-KLM Group have announced their intention to expand their strategic partnership, offering customers the most comprehensive transatlantic route network via their extensive joint venture. Virgin CEO, Chris Kreeger, stated that with each partner’s London presence taken into account, “that gets us collectively to the top spot”.
This venture will offer the best flight schedules with competitive fares and frequent flyer benefits, including the ability to earn air miles across all carriers.
300 nonstop transatlantic flights will be offered per day, increasing competitive routings with offerings across all business markets including Amsterdam, Atlanta, Boston, Cincinnati, Detroit, Los Angeles, London Heathrow, Minneapolis St Paul, New York JFK, Paris CDG, Salt Lake City, and Seattle.
The combined partnership between the three airline giants will last at least 15 years. To support its success, Air France-KLM will acquire a 31% stake in Virgin Atlantic Group for £220 million; Virgin Group will retain a 20% stake and Chairmanship; and Delta will retain its 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic.
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Virgin Atlantic will keep its independence as a UK airline with UK operating certificate.
Jean-Marc Janaillac, CEO, Air France KLM, said: “With our partners Delta and Virgin Atlantic, we are pleased to reinforce our transatlantic partnership, offering our customers even more choice between Europe, UK and the United States via twelve hubs on both sides of the Atlantic.”
Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Group Founder, said: “Virgin Atlantic has made a big difference to people’s flying experience over the past 33 years and transformed the airline industry for the better. This is a fantastic opportunity to extend our network and create a stronger customer champion, as well as being extremely beneficial to our people and the Virgin Atlantic brand that our customers love dearly.”
Craig Kreeger, CEO, Virgin Atlantic, said: “We built the Virgin Atlantic brand by providing customers with the choice they deserve and a travel experience they love. We couldn’t be more excited that the next stage of our growth will be at the heart of the strongest partnership for customers traveling between Europe and North America. Together with our friends at Air France-KLM and Delta we will build on this vision of our teams creating irresistible experiences for customers flying on our network.”
Ed Bastian, Delta’s CEO, comments “By working even more closely with our great partners at Air France-KLM and Virgin Atlantic, together we will develop a path to increase competition across the Atlantic that will spur additional benefits for customers, employees and shareholders.”
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