The European Union's has cleared the way for Air France-KLM and Delta Air Lines to acquire a majority control of Virgin Atlantic Airways. The anti-trust regulator decided it would not object to the deal, saying that it did not have any competition concerns. An investigation revealed that there will still be strong competition in the market.
Until the deal is compled, Virgin Atlantic is owned 51% owned by the Virgin Group and 49% by Delta Air Lines. The commission's findings pave the way for the Air France-KLM group buying 31% from Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, with the latter's ownership falling to 20%.
The EU has approved Air France-KLM's plan to acquire 31% of Virgin Atlantic. (Russel Lee)
A group consisting of Virgin Atlantic and two other partners is also closing in on a deal to take control of troubled UK-based regional carrier Flybe, which is expected to complete on or before February 22. With Air France-KLM 'slot sitting' on some of its portfolio at busy airports including Heathrow and Amsterdam Schiphol, it is likely that some juggling of schedules will take place to improve connectivity and optimise aircraft to routes.
Virgin Atlantic's CEO Shai Weiss recently said: "2019 marks the start of a new phase of growth for Virgin Atlantic as we work to achieve our ambition to become the most loved travel company." The airline has already announced it will start flying from Heathrow to Tel Aviv, Israel, later this year.
Text © The Aviation Oracle