Virgin mulls joint venture with Air France-KLM

Virgin mulls joint venture with Air France-KLM

Detailed talks about a joint venture between Virgin Atlantic and Air France-KLM and Alitalia are reportedly due to take place.

Virgin’s chief commercial officer Julie Southern told the Financial Times: “We are very interested in exploring what further co-operation opportunities there are, particularly with Air France-KLM and Alitalia, but no detailed discussions have happened yet.

“We look forward to engaging on that in the coming months.”

Virgin plans to improve its competitive position on transatlantic routes with a profit-sharing joint venture with new 49% shareholder Delta Air Lines and is looking to create a similar arrangement on routes to Asia, the Middle East and Africa through the SkyTeam alliance European partner carriers.

Air France-KLM serves 25 destinations in Asia, and 60 in the Middle East and Africa.

Jean-Cyril Spinetta, Air France-KLM’s chief executive, said the company was interested in considering a joint venture with Virgin on Asian and African routes. Alitalia declined to comment.

Delta and Virgin must first gain regulatory approval in Brussels and Washington for their transatlantic partnership.

The US carrier already has a joint venture with Air France-KLM and Alitalia on transatlantic routes, and these airlines, together with Virgin, are expected to seek permission from regulators to all collaborate on the pricing and marketing of flights between Europe and the US.

Delta would retain its joint venture with Air-France KLM and Alitalia, which is focused in Europe on hubs in Paris and Rome, and then have a separate partnership with Virgin centred on its base at Heathrow, according to the newspaper.

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