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Delta Air Lines Acquires 49 Percent Stake in Virgin Atlantic and Marks the Date with New Codeshare And Frequent Flyer Partnership

Delta and Virgin Atlantic acquire merger clearance from the EU Commission and U.S Department of Justice and add 66 destinations for customers

Jun 24, 2013

ATLANTA and LONDON, June 24, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) and Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd. today detailed a codeshare agreement across 108 routes* that offers customers seamless connections to 66 destinations across North America and the U.K. 

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20101123/CL04792LOGO )

Today's 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 U.S. routes. Delta will place its code on 17 Virgin Atlantic routes, including the recently launched Little Red domestic U.K. 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 programs that will offer up to 125% 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, Delta's president. "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, Virgin Atlantic CEO said; "Today is an important day for Virgin Atlantic and our customers in both the U.S. and U.K. 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."

The two airlines announced their intention to enter into a joint venture agreement in December 2012. Last week unconditional merger clearance was granted by the European Commission and the U.S Department of Justice closed their review of the transaction. As of today, Delta has successfully completed its acquisition of a 49 per cent stake in Virgin Atlantic. The U.S Department of Transportation is currently reviewing the parties' application for antitrust immunity relating to the proposed joint venture of the parties' operations on nonstop routes between the US and the UK. This review is expected to be completed during third quarter of 2013, and the implementation of the Delta/Virgin Atlantic joint venture is anticipated to occur in the first quarter of 2014. Once implemented, this will deliver further significant additional consumer benefits and vibrant competition to the trans-Atlantic market.

Customers will be able to reap the rewards of the reciprocal codesharing beginning 3 July 2013 when travel across the routes begin. Flights can be booked from 29 June 2013. In the future, corporate and travel agency customers of both airlines will also benefit from an aligned sales effort on both sides of the Atlantic. Full details of the codeshare announcement can be found at www.virgin-atlantic.com and www.delta.com .

As part of a $3 billion investment in enhanced global products, services and airport facilities, all of Delta's flights between the U.S. and London-Heathrow feature fully flat-bed seats offering direct aisle access in the BusinessElite cabin. These flights also offer Delta's popular Economy Comfort seating in the forward section of the economy cabin. Economy Comfort offers four additional inches of legroom and 50 per cent more recline compared to standard economy seats. All cabins offer in-seat audio and video on demand with a broad range of in-flight entertainment options. Delta also will begin introducing in-flight WiFi service on international flights beginning in 2014.

Virgin Atlantic completed a £150m upgrade programme, including a new Upper Class cabin across its Airbus A330 aircraft in 2012 – with features including the longest fully flat bed in the sky and a redesigned on board bar. Brand new Clubhouses opened at both JFK and Newark airports in the past year and have received awards for innovation and design. The airline launched its domestic service; Virgin Atlantic Little Red in March 2013 and is now flying 26 daily frequencies to Manchester, Edinburgh and Aberdeen from Heathrow. Virgin Atlantic achieved record levels of on time performance in 2012 and is the number one airline in punctuality performance at Heathrow on the majority of its routes and out-performing its key competitor in 11 out of 12 months.

Notes to editors

*Canadian and Jamaican flights subject to foreign government approval.

Virgin Atlantic codeshare on Delta operated flights:

LHR

London Heathrow

to

JFK

New York, NY






BOS

Boston, MA






ATL

Atlanta, GA






DTW

Detroit, MI






MSP

Minneapolis, MN



MAN

Manchester, UK

to

ATL

Atlanta, GA










JFK

New York, NY

to

ATL

Atlanta, GA

MKE

Milwaukee, WI




AUS

Austin, TX

MSP

Minneapolis, MN




BNA

Nashville, TN

MSY

New Orleans, LA




BOS

Boston, MA

ORD

Chicago, IL




BUF

Buffalo, NY

ORF

Norfolk, VA




BWI

Baltimore, MD

PDX

Portland, OR




CHS

Charleston, SC

PHL

Philadelphia, PA




CLE

Cleveland, OH

PHX

Phoenix, AZ




CLT

Charlotte, NC

PIT

Pittsburgh, PA




CMH

Columbus, OH

RDU

Raleigh Durham, NC




CVG

Cincinnati, OH

RIC

Richmond, VA




DCA

Washington, DC

ROC

Rochester, NY




DEN

Denver, CO

RSW

Fort Myers, FL




DFW

Dallas Fort Worth, TX

SAN

San Diego, CA




DTW

Detroit, MI

SAT

San Antonio, TX




FLL

Fort Lauderdale, FL

SDF

Louisville, KY




IAD

Washington, DC

SEA

Seattle, WA




IND

Indianapolis, IN

SFO

San Francisco, CA




JAX

Jacksonville, FL

SLC

Salt Lake City, UT




LAS

Las Vegas, NV

STL

St Louis, MO




LAX

Los Angeles, CA

TPA

Tampa, FL




MBJ

Montego Bay, Jamaica

YQB

Quebec, Canada




MCI

Kansas City, MO

YUL

Montreal, Canada




MCO

Orlando, FL

YVR

Vancouver, Canada




MIA

Miami, FL

YYZ

Toronto, Canada








BOS

Boston, MA

to

ATL

Atlanta, GA

MCO

Orlando, FL




CMH

Columbus, OH

MEM

Memphis, TN




CVG

Cincinnati, OH

MSP

Minneapolis, MN




DTW

Detroit, MI

ORF

Norfolk, VA




IND

Indianapolis, IN

RDU

Raleigh Durham, NC




LGA

La Guardia, NY

SLC

Salt Lake City, UT








LAX

Los Angeles, CA

to

HNL

Honolulu, HI

PHX

Phoenix, AZ




KOA

Kona, HI

SAN

San Diego, CA




LAS

Las Vegas, NV

SEA

Seattle, WA




LIH

Lihue, HI

SFO

San Francisco, CA




OAK

Oakland, CA

SLC

Salt Lake City, UT




OGG

Kahului, HI

SMF

Sacramento, CA




PDX

Portland, OR










EWR

Newark, NJ

to

ATL

Atlanta, GA






DTW

Detroit, MI






MSP

Minneapolis, MN



IAD

Washington, DC

to

ATL

Atlanta, GA






DTW

Detroit, MI






MSP

Minneapolis, MN



ORD

Chicago, IL


MSP

Minneapolis, MN






SLC

Salt Lake City, UT



SFO

San Francisco, CA


HNL

Honolulu, HI






SLC

Salt Lake City, UT



Delta codeshare on Virgin Atlantic operated flights:

LHR

London Heathrow

to

BOS

Boston, MA




EWR

Newark, NJ




JFK

New York, NY




IAD

Washington, DC




LAX

Los Angeles, CA




MIA

Miami, FL




ORD

Chicago, IL




SFO

San Francisco, CA




YVR

Vancouver, Canada




ABZ

Aberdeen, UK




EDI

Edinburgh, UK




MAN

Manchester, UK

LGW

London Gatwick

to

LAS

Las Vegas, NV




MCO

Orlando, FL

MAN

Manchester

to

MCO

Orlando, FL




LAS

Las Vegas, NV

GLA

Glasgow

to

MCO

Orlando, FL

*Full details of Virgin Atlantic Flying Club and Delta Air Lines SkyMiles earn and burn programmes can be found at www.virgin-atlantic.com and www.delta.com.

About Delta Air Lines
Delta Air Lines serves more than 160 million customers each year. Delta was named by Fortune magazine as the most admired airline worldwide in its 2013 World's Most Admired Companies airline industry list, topping the list for the second time in three years. With an industry-leading global network, Delta and the Delta Connection carriers offer service to 328 destinations in 64 countries on six continents. Headquartered in Atlanta, Delta employs nearly 80,000 employees worldwide and operates a mainline fleet of more than 700 aircraft. The airline is a founding member of the SkyTeam global alliance and participates in the industry's leading trans-Atlantic joint venture with Air France-KLM and Alitalia. Including its worldwide alliance partners, Delta offers customers more than 15,000 daily flights, with hubs in Amsterdam, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Detroit, Memphis, Minneapolis-St. Paul, New York-LaGuardia, New York-JFK, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Salt Lake City and Tokyo-Narita. Delta is investing more than $3 billion in airport facilities and global products, services and technology to enhance the customer experience in the air and on the ground.  Additional information is available on delta.com, Twitter @Delta, Google.com/+Delta and Facebook.com/delta.

About Virgin Atlantic
Virgin Atlantic was founded by Sir Richard Branson in 1984. The airline flies over 5.5m passengers every year to 35 destinations worldwide, including locations across North America, the Caribbean, Africa, south and east Asia, and Australia.  Some of its most recent additions to its flying network include Cancun, Vancouver and Mumbai. 

Virgin Atlantic has enjoyed huge popularity, winning top business, consumer and trade awards from around the world and was recently awarded Best Long Haul Airline and Best Airline Lounge at The Daily Telegraph Ultratravel awards. The airline has pioneered a range of innovations setting new standards of service, which its competitors have subsequently sought to follow. Despite Virgin Atlantic's growth the service still remains customer driven with an emphasis on value for money, quality, fun and innovation.

Virgin Atlantic currently has a fleet of aircraft which includes 747-400s, A340-300s, A340-600, A330-300s and A320s. The airline is expecting delivery of 16 Boeing 787 Dreamliners from 2014.   

SOURCE Delta Air Lines

For further information: Delta Corporate Communications, +404 715 2554, news.delta.com; or Virgin Atlantic Press Office, +44 1293 747 373


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