The planned project between KLM, Air France, Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic has been approved by United States authorities. This means that the airlines will essentially conduct transatlantic operations as a single joint venture.
The Points Guy reports that the US Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao granted final approval for an expanded alignment between the firms. The Department of Transportation tentatively agreed to the move back in August. It planned to grant the group of carriers antitrust immunity to allow the move. Now, the plans have now been officially approved.
This alliance would allow these airlines to combine their resources together when it comes to US-Europe operations. Together, they would be able to produce joint marketing campaigns, sell flights, coordinate schedules and plan fares.
This joint venture replaces two previous arrangements that were in place between the regions. One was between the US and the United Kingdom, while the other was between the US and continental Europe. Chao hopes that the overhaul will allow for additional benefits, including greater options for passengers on transatlantic services.
Meanwhile, Delta spokeswoman Susannah Thurston spoke with The Points Guy about the venture. The airline believes that the move will allow the carriers to deliver more effective operations between the regions.
“This is the final regulatory step for the airlines to begin to work together to offer customers the best streamlined travel experience across the Atlantic,” Susannah Thurston said, as reported by The Points Guy.
This news follows Virgin Atlantic’s announcement of its plans for a similar partnership with Air France-KLM and China Eastern. This joint venture would see the British carrier leverage China Eastern’s presence in its country.
If approved, the deal would replace the agreement that is in place between Air France-KLM and the Chinese carrier. Virgin Atlantic hopes that this JV will be in place by early 2020.
Meanwhile, Delta recently announced that it is joining Silver Airways on a codeshare agreement. This would increase its influence in the Caribbean due to Silver’s presence within the region. Delta’s extended network now includes San Juan, Anguilla, Antigua, Dominica, Tortola, Nevis, St. Kitts, St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. Maarten. American Airlines also followed with its own Caribbean codeshare with Silver.
With the aviation industry going through various struggles this year, airlines now have a greater drive to share resources. By aligning, these carriers will be hoping to maintain their development heading into the next decade.
However, not everyone involved would be delighted with these movements. Delta’s pilots previously expressed their dismay of the joint venture due to claims of losing out on work. Ultimately, all factors need to be considered by authorities when giving the green light.
What do you think of the joint venture between KLM, Air France, Delta & Virgin Atlantic? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section.