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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.