Delta Air Lines received approval from both the antitrust unit of the Justice Department of the United States and the European Commission earlier today for its $360 million acquisition of a 49 percent stake in Virgin Atlantic Airways Limited.
The partnership would purportedly allow both airlines to expand at Heathrow Airport near London, which is the busiest airport in Europe.
The Justice Department said in an official statement that “after a thorough investigation of the competitive effects of the proposed equity investment and joint venture, the Antitrust Division concluded that the facts and circumstances did not warrant further investigation or action.”
FlyerTalk members are generally reacting positively to the news — especially as Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic Airways are expected to cooperate and reciprocate the benefits and amenities of such items as frequent flier loyalty programs and airport lounges.
Delta Air Lines agreed to purchase a 49-percent stake in Virgin Atlantic Airways from Singapore Airlines in December of 2012 in a $360 million deal, which ultimately gives Delta Air Lines a greater presence at Heathrow Airport. Some FlyerTalk members from both the Delta SkyMiles forum and the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club forum originally expressed doubts about the deal, but others believe that the Delta Air Lines deal will help strengthen Virgin Atlantic Airways — especially now with the appointment of Craig Kreeger to chief executive officer of Virgin Atlantic Airways.