Virgin Atlantic and Delta Air Lines have formed a strategic alliance which will see an expanded network of transatlantic routes.
The two airlines have agreed to join forces to create a more competitive service between the US and the UK, and will see Delta investing $360 million into Virgin Atlantic. Delta are set to acquire the 49 per cent stake previously owned by Singapore Airlines, and the Virgin Group will retain its 51 per cent controlling stake in Virgin Atlantic.
Benefits of the agreement include the provision of a combined network of 31 transatlantic round-trips per day on peak days. Flights between New York and London will benefit from the deal, with nine round-trip flights on a daily basis between Newark and John F Kennedy airports and London Heathrow. Passengers will also benefit from frequent flyer benefits being shared between the two airlines. Elite passengers will also have access to the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse and Delta Sky Club lounges.
"This is an exciting day in Virgin Atlantic history," commented Virgin Atlantic president Richard Branson. "It signals the start of a new era of expansion, financial growth and many opportunities for our customers and our business. I truly look forward to the possibilities our partnership with Delta will offer," he added.
Delta CEO Richard Anderson also expressed his satisfaction with the new deal. "Our new partnership with Virgin Atlantic will strengthen both airlines and provide a more effective competitor between North America and the UK," said Mr Anderson. "By combining the strengths of our two companies in a joint venture, we can provide customers with a seamless network between North America and the U.K., and continue building a better airline for our customers, employees and shareholders," he added.