On July 27 2017, Virgin Atlantic announced its intention to expand its strategic partnership with The Air France-KLM Group and Delta Air Lines to offer its customers access to the most comprehensive transatlantic route network via an extensive joint venture.
The long-term joint venture would offer convenient flight schedules with competitive fares and reciprocal frequent flyer benefits, including the ability to earn and redeem miles across all carriers. The benefits would also include co-location of facilities at key airport hubs to improve connectivity times for customers, as well as access to each carrier’s airport lounges for premium customers.
The enhanced joint venture, including Alitalia, would become the airline partnership of choice for customers, offering more than 300 daily nonstop transatlantic flights and increasing competitive routings with offerings across key business markets including Amsterdam, Atlanta, Boston, Cincinnati, Detroit, Los Angeles, London Heathrow, Minneapolis-St Paul, New York-JFK, Paris-CDG, Salt Lake City and Seattle.
The enhanced joint venture would establish a combined partnership with a duration of at least 15 years. In order to support the success of that cooperation:
- Air France-KLM will acquire a 31 percent stake in Virgin Atlantic currently held by Virgin Group for £220 million
- Virgin Group will retain a 20 percent stake and Chairmanship
- Delta will retain its 49 percent stake in Virgin Atlantic
All transactions are subject to execution of definitive agreements and receipt of final shareholder, board, and regulatory approvals. Virgin Atlantic would retain its independence as a UK airline with a UK operating certificate, and will continue to fly under the Virgin brand.