Up­front

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Vir­gin At­lantic-Delta pro­posed JV goes to DOT, talks start with Air France/KLM. Capella DC opens in Ge­orge­town. Web-based lost and found premieres. South­west, Choice Ho­tels top mo­bile ex­pe­ri­ences. Westin launches Tan­gent workspace con­cept. Travel spend in North Amer­ica up in 2012. Mar­riott launches new Moxy econ­omy brand. Fin­nair teams with AA, Bri­tish Air­ways and Ibe­ria. United un­veils new pre­mium cabin.

In what has been de­scribed as a “sig­nif­i­cant mile­stone”in the joint ven­ture be­tween Delta and Vir­gin At­lantic, the car­ri­ers have filed an ap­pli­ca­tion for an­titrust im­mu­nity with the Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion (DOT). The ap­pli­ca­tion is the next step by the car­ri­ers in their move to es­tab­lish a transAt­lantic joint ven­ture to com­pete with Bri­tish Air­ways and Amer­i­can Air­lines.

Un­der the pro­posed joint ven­ture, Delta and Vir­gin At­lantic would co­or­di­nate sched­ules, net­work plan­ning, pric­ing and sales on ser­vices be­tween North Amer­ica and the United King­dom. The two car­ri­ers are propos­ing a to­tal of 31 daily round trip flights be­tween the UK and North Amer­ica, 23 of which would op­er­ate at Lon­don Heathrow. The agree­ment would also al­low code­shar­ing, re­cip­ro­cal fre­quent flier ben­e­fits and shared lounge ac­cess.

The car­ri­ers are also seek­ing an­titrust im­mu­nity for five-way co­or­di­na­tion on UK-US traf­fic flows so that Delta can con­tinue to ef­fec­tively op­er­ate its ex­ist­ing joint ven­ture with Euro­pean air­lines Air France, KLM and Al­i­talia, along­side this pro­posed agree­ment with Vir­gin.

In the mean­time,Vir­gin At­lantic, Air France-KLM and Al­i­talia are in talks to form a joint ven­ture that would loft more in­ter­na­tional flights to Asia, the Mid­dle East and Africa for the air­lines.

Vir­gin At­lantic pre­vi­ously was an in­de­pen­dent air­line but is mak­ing changes to its busi­ness model to en­able it to re­turn to prof­itabil­ity fol­low­ing a pre-tax loss of £80.2 mil­lion ($122.8 mil­lion) for 2011 to 2012.

For more in­for­ma­tion visit delta.com, vir­gin-at­lantic.com.

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