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Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic Airways welcome DoT antitrust immunity for transatlantic JV

24-Sep-2013 8:33 AM

Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic Airways welcomed (23-Sep-2013) the US Department of Transportation's (DoT) decision to grant the carriers antitrust immunity for their JV on transatlantic services between North America and the UK. From 30-Mar-2014 the carriers will operate a "harmonised" schedule between New York JFK and London Heathrow, offering seven daily services. The new schedule will include departures every 30 minutes during the early evening peak and then hourly until 22:30 from New York JFK and a spread of seven daily services from London Heathrow to New York JFK, including two late afternoon and early evening departures. In addition, the carriers will offer twice daily New York Newark-London Heathrow service, with a combined 32 daily services between North America and the UK. Delta Air Lines president Ed Bastian said: "We are delighted that the Department of Transportation recognises that the immunised partnership offers significant advantages to customers. The freedom to cooperate fully with Virgin Atlantic will initiate a new era of greater competition in the New York to London market ­where it is much needed. We have a proven record in making joint ventures succeed and we look forward to building our relationship with Virgin Atlantic." Virgin Atlantic Airways CEO Craig Kreeger said: "Today represents a huge opportunity for both Virgin Atlantic’s passengers and our business. Our partnership with Delta means we will be able to offer convenient aligned schedules and a much broader network, giving the best possible travel choices and on board experience to trans-Atlantic passengers. For almost 30 years Virgin Atlantic has offered an award-winning experience and service to passengers travelling across the Atlantic, and today’s ATI approval means we can build on this momentum and improve the consumer landscape at Heathrow for the better." [more - original PR]