For now, just a wish list, but European airlines do have to consider banding up, with their own dicey economies and threat of long haul Gulf airlines taking over profitable routes.
Virgin Atlantic is planning to hold talks over a possible joint venture with Air France-KLM and Alitalia which would see Sir Richard Branson’s airline offer more routes to Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
Julie Southern, Virgin’s chief commercial officer, said: “We are very interested in exploring what further cooperation opportunities there are, particularly with Air France-KLM and Alitalia.”
However, she added that “no detailed discussions” have taken place yet, with talks due to take place in the “coming months”.
The airline is already planning a joint venture with Delta Air Lines this year in an attempt to challenge British Airways’ dominance of the London to New York market.
It is thought that a similar deal could be made between Virgin and Air France-KLM to open up more flights to Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Italian airline Alitalia could also be involved in the tie-up.
Virgin is considering altering its business model and may be willing to sacrifice its independence as it looks to return to profitability.
Jean-Cyril Spinetta, Air France-KLM’s chief executive, said the Franco-Dutch group may consider a joint venture with Virgin on Asian and African routes.
Delta, which is planning to take a 49pc stake in Virgin Atlantic, already has a partnership with Air France-KLM and Alitalia on transatlantic routes. The enlarged group are thought to be considering asking regulators if they can all work together on the pricing and marketing of flights between Europe and the US.
Last year, rumours of the tie-up with Delta prompted BA chief executive Willie Walsh to predict such a deal would lead to the Virgin brand disappearing within five years.
Subscribe to Skift Pro
Subscribe to Skift Pro to get unlimited access to stories like these ($30/month)Subscribe Now
U.S. Airlines Look to Holiday Boost as Delta Variant Delays Business Travel’s Recovery
The Delta variant has set the travel recovery back with most U.S. airlines eating humble pie after overly rosy outlooks in July. With the business travel recovery delayed at least three months, the industry hopes to counter the tide of bad news with some possible year-end, holiday cheer.
Edward Russell, Skift | 2 weeks ago
Las Vegas Emerging This Fall as the Hottest Corporate Travel Destination Despite Variant Worries
The city is in tune with the pandemic protocol: after the tourists, next come the business travelers. Las Vegas is edging towards recovery, but Delta variant concerns may spoil the party yet.
Matthew Parsons, Skift | 2 weeks ago