Delta, Air France-KLM and Virgin Atlantic firm up plans

Air France Airbus A320
Photo Credit: Santi Rodriguez/Shutterstock

Delta, Virgin Atlantic and Air France-KLM have signed definitive agreements relating to their planned three-way transatlantic joint venture.

The agreements spell out the governance as well as the commercial and operational terms of the proposed partnership.

"Air France-KLM, Delta and Virgin Atlantic will now coordinate efforts to secure the appropriate regulatory approvals," the companies said.

The definitive agreement comes close to 10 months after the three airlines announced that they'd reached tentative terms on the partnership, which would unify the existing Delta-Virgin Atlantic joint venture with the joint venture between Delta, Air France-KLM and Alitalia. The status of Alitalia in the consolidated joint venture effort is uncertain because it is going through insolvency proceedings.

As part of the deal, Air France-KLM will purchase 31% of Virgin Atlantic for 220 million British pounds. Delta will retain its 49% share of Virgin Atlantic and the Virgin Group will be left with just 20% of the airline it founded.

Delta purchased a 10% share of Air France-KLM at the end of last year and took a seat on the company's board, according to Air Transport World.

In a March interview with Travel Weekly, Virgin Atlantic chief commercial officer Shari Weiss said that barring regulatory hang-ups, the expanded joint venture could launch in the second half of 2019.

Under joint ventures, carriers receive immunity from antitrust regulations, allowing them to jointly schedule, market and operate flights.

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