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BRUSSELS: February 12, 2019. The European Commission (EC) has approved unconditionally the proposed acquisition of joint control over Virgin Atlantic by Air France-KLM, Delta and the Virgin Group after concluding it would raise no competition concerns in the European Economic Area.

KLM Cargo B747FThe decision enables a proposed acquisition by Air France-KLM of a 31 percent joint-controlling interest in Virgin Atlantic Limited, which leads to joint control over Virgin Atlantic by Air France-KLM, Delta Air Lines Inc. and the Virgin Group.

The shareholders intend to enhance the scope of their current cooperation by combining and expanding two pre-existing ‘metal neutral’ joint ventures between Delta and Air France-KLM, and between Delta and Virgin Atlantic, in which they jointly plan and manage capacity, pricing and inter-airline financial settlements, with all participating carriers sharing profits equally.

The EC also concluded the deal is unlikely to raise air cargo competition concerns because Air France-KLM, Delta and Virgin Atlantic “are not close competitors and they continue to face strong competition on routes from the UK to North America, Africa, Asia and the Caribbean, and from Continental Europe/Ireland to North America, from Lufthansa or Cargolux,” amongst others.

Delta and the Virgin Group received approval from the EC for joint control of Virgin Atlantic in June 2013.

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