Make us your home page
Instagram

Delta buys 49% Virgin Atlantic stake for London-NYC flights

LONDON — Delta Air Lines agreed to buy a 49 percent stake in Richard Branson's Virgin Atlantic Airways for $360 million to boost its share of the lucrative trans-Atlantic travel market.

The carriers will begin a joint venture on 31 daily round-trip flights between North America and Britain as they use Virgin Atlantic's base at London's Heathrow airport, Europe's busiest, according to a statement Tuesday. The Virgin Atlantic stake has been held by Singapore Airlines Ltd. since 1999.

The deal positions Atlanta-based Delta and Virgin Atlantic to grab a bigger slice of flights across the North Atlantic, the world's richest lode of premium passengers. British Airways and AMR Corp.'s American Airlines, the leaders of the Oneworld alliance, now control more than half of that service.

"It gives Delta the bulk between New York and Heathrow to compete effectively for the high-yielding business traveler," said Jeff Straebler, an analyst at John Hancock Financial Services in Boston. "Delta is filling a gap in its route network that will pay off for years to come."

The U.S. carrier's 10 daily nonstop flights to Britain would be added to the 21 that Crawley, England-based Virgin Atlantic plans to operate under its summer 2013 schedule.

While the Virgin Atlantic brand will remain and founder Branson will retain control, the deal marks the end of a go-it- alone strategy for the airline the 62-year-old British billionaire established almost three decades ago.

Delta and Virgin Atlantic said they will seek antitrust immunity from regulators, letting them coordinate schedules and pricing and share costs and revenue from joint-venture flights regardless of whose plane operates the route.

They also will offer reciprocal frequent-flier benefits and allow elite-level loyalty-program members to use each other's airport lounges.

Delta buys 49% Virgin Atlantic stake for London-NYC flights 12/11/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 11, 2012 9:21pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. ReliaQuest's benevolent hackers try to make companies more secure

    Corporate

    TAMPA — Their goal is to get in. Past a security desk, through a firewall, into a system they shouldn't have access to. Sometimes they'll look like a regular person in the lobby who innocently forgot their access badge. Most times they won't be seen at all, remotely and quietly prodding a company's systems from a …

    Angelo Castellano of Tampa works at his desk at ReliaQuest | | [CHARLIE KAIJO, Times]
  2. Despite soaring home prices, Tampa Bay still an affordable market

    Real Estate

    Times Staff Writer

    Finally, some good news for Tampa Bay home buyers. Despite rising prices, the bay area remains relatively affordable compared to many other parts of the country.

    Despite rising prices, the bay area remains relatively affordable compared to many other parts of the country. [Associated Press file photo]
  3. National economy off to a luckluster start this year

    Business

    WASHINGTON — The U.S. economy got off to a lackluster start during the first three months of 2017, though it enjoyed more momentum than earlier estimates indicated.

    he U.S. economy got off to a lackluster start during the first three months of 2017, though it enjoyed more momentum than earlier estimates indicated.
[Associated Press file photo]
  4. Last steel beam marks construction milestone for Tom and Mary James' museum

    Growth

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tom and Mary James on Wednesday signed their names to the last steel beam framing the 105-ton stone mesa that will be built at the entrance of the museum that bears their name: the James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art.

    The topping-out ceremony of the James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art was held Wednesday morning in downtown St. Petersburg. Mary James (from left), husband Tom and Mayor Rick Kriseman signed the final beam before it was put into place. When finished, the $55 million museum at 100 Central Ave. will hold up to 500 pieces of the couple's 3,000-piece art collection. [Courtesy of James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art]
  5. Heights Public Market to host two Tampa Bay food trucks

    Business

    TAMPA — The Heights Public Market announced the first two food trucks for its "rotating stall," which will feature new restaurants every four months. Surf and Turf and Empamamas will be rolled out first.

    Heights Public Market is opening this summer inside the Tampa Armature Works building.
[SKIP O'ROURKE   |   Times file photo]