US' Department of Justice (DoJ) closed (20-Jun-2013) its investigation into Delta Air Lines’ proposed acquisition of Singapore Airlines' 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic. DoJ's antitrust division stated: "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. In December 2012, Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic reached an agreement to establish a joint venture on flights between North America and the United Kingdom. At the same time, Delta entered an agreement to acquire the 49 percent stake in Virgin Atlantic currently held by Singapore Airlines for USD360 million. Virgin Group will retain the majority 51 percent stake. Delta and Virgin Atlantic also have filed an application with the US Department of Transportation seeking antitrust immunity for their joint venture. The division will continue to consult, as appropriate, with the Department of Transportation as it reviews the request for immunity.” [more - original PR]
US DoJ clears Delta's planned acquisition of 49% of Virgin Atlantic
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The opponents' central contention is that NAI's business model contravenes the US-EU open skies agreement's Article 17 bis, aimed at upholding labour standards. This is merely a retread of the argument rejected by the legal counsels of the DoT and the US State Department, and by the Office of Legal Counsel. Some also repeat the unfounded claim that NAI poses a threat to safety. Both positions forget that NAI's employment and safety regulations are those of Ireland, an EU nation. They also forget that NAI will create new jobs in the US and EU.
It would be remarkable if the DoT were to reverse its tentative approval, reached after more than two years of deliberation. The US-EU agreement was designed to stimulate competition, to the benefit of consumers. Approval for NAI is essential to its ongoing credibility. A final decision now awaits.
Iran CAPA Aviation Summit – hope turns to frustration, but optimism remains as growth abounds
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While it was acknowledged that progress on major deals was not going to happen overnight, the hope was that as layers of sanctions came down, Iran would be embraced by the rest of the world. In return, Iran was expected to open itself up progressively to foreign trade and investment, and to travel.
The road ahead was perceived to be one that was both a very different, and far easier, one than the one Iran had already travelled. Aviation in particular was a sector that was expected to shine and lead the way for a new era for the country.