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AIR FRANCE-KLM HAS BOUGHT a 31 per cent stake in Virgin Atlantic in a move that will see closer co-operation between the carriers plus Virgin partner Delta Air Lines.
Air France-KLM has spent £220 million on acquiring the stake from the Virgin Group, which will retain 20 per cent and chairmanship. Delta will retain its 49 per cent share in Virgin, while both Delta and Skyteam partner China Eastern will acquire a 10 per cent stake in Air France-KLM and join its board of directors.
In addition, Air France-KLM, Delta and Virgin Atlantic will launch a combined long-term joint venture.
While Virgin will retain its independence as a UK airline, the move means Sir Richard Branson will give up control of the carrier he founded in 1984. In a letter to staff, he blamed Brexit but also pointed out that working more closely with Delta would help Virgin to compete.
Delta says that the expanded joint venture, including Alitalia, will offer nearly 300 daily nonstop transatlantic flights. Passengers will also be able to earn and redeem miles across all the carriers. airfranceklm.com, virginatlantic.com