Branson Sells Stake in Virgin Atlantic in Broader Tie-Up

Saturday, 29 Jul, 2017

Suggesting that the UK's decision to leave the European Union may have been a factor in the deal he said: "Brexit before it's even happened, has had a negative effect on the financial performance of both our holiday company and the airline, principally due to the collapse in the value of the pound".

Sources say Jet and KLM-Air France are hoping to sign a "metal neutrality" pact next month that would entail flight scheduling, pricing and revenue management. Final shareholder, board and regulatory approvals are still pending.

China's Civil Aviation Administration has encouraged Chinese airlines to build up their presence overseas and become internationally recognized brands. Delta will have a 49 percent share in the company. And two years ago, it acquired 3.5% of China Eastern. The U.S. giant also plans to pursue a joint venture with China Eastern on trans-Pacific routes, should a U.S. Passengers will also be able to earn and redeem miles across all the carriers. "You're not quite a sibling, but you're a first cousin", said Henry Harteveldt, founder of the Atmosphere Research Group.

Delta says that the expanded joint venture, including Alitalia, will offer almost 300 daily nonstop trans-Atlantic flights.

Craig Kreeger, CEO, Virgin Atlantic, said: "We built the Virgin Atlantic brand by providing customers with the choice they deserve and a travel experience they love".

But equity alliances don't always work out. The new venture will also engage the ailing Alitalia carrier, which now has 18 companies bidding for its takeover including British Airways, Lufthansa, EasyJet, and Ryanair.

However the Virgin Group will keep a 20% stake, and Mr Branson will remain the largest individual shareholder. In the lucrative, high-volume trans-Atlantic route, Middle East airlines and low-priced entrants such as Norwegian Air Shuttle are putting increased pressure on the US and European carriers that long dominated. "We will deal with any changes when they come", he said. The correct version of this article can be read at

"We know there is a risk, we don't know what's going to be decided", said Janaillac.