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Delta Air Lines acquires 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic

ETW STAFFNew Delhi

Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic Airways have detailed a codeshare agreement across 108 routes that offers customers seamless connections to 66 destinations across North America and the UK. The codeshare announcement coincides with Delta acquiring a 49 per cent stake in Sir Richard Branson’s airline - marking the next step towards a full joint venture between the two carriers.

Virgin Atlantic will place its code on 91 Delta routes, including both trans-Atlantic and domestic US routes. Delta will place its code on 17 Virgin Atlantic routes, including the recently launched Little Red domestic UK services connecting London to Manchester, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

The agreement includes the following customer benefits:

  • Virgin Atlantic customers will now enjoy a vast network of connecting North American destinations while Delta customers will gain an additional six daily frequencies between London to New York
  • SkyMiles and Flying Club loyalty programmes that will offer up to 125 per cent tier bonus miles to frequent fliers on all Delta and Virgin Atlantic flights - not just those within the codeshare agreement
  • Reciprocal Delta Sky Club and Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse access at applicable airports for Upper Class and BusinessElite passengers and Flying Club Gold members and SkyMiles Platinum and Diamond members
  • Priority check-in, boarding, baggage handling and additional baggage allowance on all Virgin Atlantic and Delta operated flights worldwide - not just those within the codeshare agreement - for Virgin Atlantic Upper Class and Flying Club Gold members as well as Delta BusinessElite and SkyMiles Gold, Platinum and Diamond members

“This is a strategic investment that enhances Delta’s network with greatly improved access to London Heathrow, the leading marketplace on the trans-Atlantic,” said Ed Bastian, president, Delta. “As we unite two leading global airline brands in an innovative partnership that focuses on delivering enhanced benefits and services for our customers, we also become a more formidable competitor across the Atlantic.”

Craig Kreeger, CEO, Virgin Atlantic said; “Today is an important day for Virgin Atlantic and our customers in both the US and UK. As new shareholders in the airline, Delta is an important ally in the all-important trans-Atlantic market. We can stand firm together against the competition and can now offer more destinations, a smoother connecting airport experience and ultimately the best trans-Atlantic on board experience. Virgin Atlantic’s award-winning customer experience is loved around the world and we look forward to sharing our unique Clubhouse and in-flight hospitality with many Delta passengers over the years.”

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