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Europe gives green light to Delta’s Virgin Atlantic buy

June 25, 2013 Aviation, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59The European Commission, executive arm of the 27-country European Union, has approved Delta Airlines’ purchase of 49% of Virgin Atlantic.

The 49% stake Delta is buying belongs to Singapore Airlines – so Delta now becomes a massive shareholder in Sir Richard Branson’s airline. Virgin Atlantic will keep its 51% controlling stake as part of the deal. Coles-Training_250X250px

The EU Commission stated that it had “concluded that the proposed transaction did not raise competition concerns”.

The deal was first announced last December but was subject to EU approval.

The EU feels that the joint Delta/Virgin venture will continue to face strong competition from rival carriers “notably British Airways and American Airlines”.

Delta and Virgin have always contended that the deal will enable them to become more effective competitors on routes between North America and Britain, particularly between the US and London, by expanding the quantity and quality of travel options for customers of both airlines.

Delta and Virgin Atlantic have stressed that nearly 60% of the slots at London Heathrow Airport are controlled by the American Airlines/British Airways joint venture which, as a result, dominates air travel between the US and Britain, including the New York-London market, which is the most important business market in the world.

By combining Virgin’s Heathrow slots and UK brand strength with Delta’s powerful US network, “the joint venture will offer significant competition in the market and benefit consumers on both sides of the Atlantic”, Delta maintains.

Delta already operates a trans-Atlantic joint venture with Air France KLM and Alitalia.

Written by : Peter Needham

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