Skift Take

It's slightly disappointing that Richard Branson won't be making an outlandish appearance at Monday's event. What's a Virgin announcement without some grandiose self promotion?

Delta Air Lines Inc. will finalize its purchase of a 49 percent stake in Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd. on June 24, Chief Executive Officer Richard Anderson said.

“On Monday, we’ll announce the closing,” Anderson said today in a weekly recorded message to employees.

Delta President Ed Bastian will join Virgin Atlantic CEO Craig Kreeger in New York for the event, Anderson said. The carriers will begin a codeshare agreement that allows passengers to book tickets on each other’s planes on a single itinerary, he said.

Delta, based in Atlanta, can proceed after winning regulatory approval from the European Commission and the U.S. Justice Department yesterday, Anderson said. Delta and Virgin Atlantic, which is 51 percent owned by U.K. billionaire Richard Branson, are still seeking antitrust immunity from the U.S. Transportation Department that would allow them to jointly set fares and schedules and act as a single entity.

Delta is buying the Virgin stake from Singapore Airlines Ltd. for $360 million to increase its share of the trans- Atlantic market, the world’s richest segment of premium passengers. The move is also a challenge to British Airways and AMR Corp.’s American Airlines, who now control more than half of that service.

Editors: James Callan, Stephen West. To contact the reporters on this story: Mary Jane Credeur in Atlanta at [email protected]; Leslie Picker in New York at [email protected]. To contact the editor responsible for this story: Ed Dufner at [email protected].


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Tags: delta air lines, virgin atlantic

Photo credit: Aircraft models are seen following a news conference to announce the sale of Virgin Atlantic airline to Delta Air Lines, in New York Brendan Mcdermid / Reuters

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