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Published on Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Delta's deal to buy 49% of Virgin agreed

Delta Air Lines has finally bought a 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic as the two airlines announce a detailed codeshare agreement.

The proposed investment of $360 million was given clearance from the EU Commission and US Department of Justice last week, see previous story.

The codeshare agreement will see Virgin place its code on 91 Delta routes, including both trans-Atlantic and domestic US routes.

Delta will place its code on 17 Virgin Atlantic routes including the recently launched Little Red domestic UK service connecting London to Manchester, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

"This is a strategic investment that enhances Delta's network with greatly improved access to London Heathrow, the leading marketplace on the trans-Atlantic," said Ed Bastian, Delta's president.

Craig Kreeger, Virgin Atlantic CEO said; "As new shareholders in the airline, Delta is an important ally in the all-important trans-Atlantic market.

"We can stand firm together against the competition and can now offer more destinations, a smoother connecting airport experience and ultimately the best trans-Atlantic on board experience."

The U.S Department of Transportation is currently reviewing the parties' application for antitrust immunity relating to the proposed joint venture of the parties' operations on nonstop routes between the US and the UK.

This review is expected to be completed during third quarter of 2013 and the Delta/Virgin Atlantic joint venture is anticipated to occur in the first quarter of 2014.

Reciprocal codesharing will start from 3 July 2013.

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