Delta Air Lines, Air France-KLM, and Virgin Atlantic have announced they have finalised the terms of their transatlantic joint-venture and will now work on obtaining regulatory approvals for the partnership to enter into force.
“Upon completion, Air France–KLM Royal Dutch Airlines will acquire a 31% stake in Virgin Atlantic currently held by Virgin Group for GBP220 million pounds (USD298 million). Virgin Group will retain a 20% stake and Chairmanship of Virgin Atlantic. Delta will retain its 49% stake. Air France-KLM, Delta and Virgin Atlantic will now coordinate efforts to secure the appropriate regulatory approvals,” a joint statement has said.
In a recent interview with Air Transport World, Virgin Atlantic CEO Craig Kreeger said that he does not expect Air France-KLM to become a shareholder in the airline before early- to mid-2019, despite previous expectations that the transaction would close later this year.
The joint-venture will need approvals by respective authorities in both the European Union and the United States. It is also unclear how it will position Virgin Atlantic vis-a-vis European and British effective ownership and control rules following Brexit in March 2019.
Once the transaction is completed, Virgin Atlantic will cease to be majority-British owned with a total of 80% of the stock shared between Delta and Air France-KLM which could pose regulatory hurdles. Prior to Brexit, Virgin Atlantic would remain an EU-owned carrier with 51% of shares owned by either Air France-KLM or Virgin Group.