Delta Air Lines has confirmed plans to purchase a 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic Airways. Delta is anticipating control of 24% to 25% of the market for trans-Atlantic flights, CEO Richard Anderson said. Delta has agreed to purchase the shares from Singapore Airlines for $360 million.
Premium airline travel worldwide fell 11.5% in November, putting a strain on one of the airline industry's major profit centers. Trans-Pacific routes fared worst, with a 17.7% drop in premium travel, while trans-Atlantic routes posted a 9% decline. Worldwide coach-class travel also suffered, slipping 6% for the month.
Delta Air Lines, Northwest Airlines and their European partners have received tentative antitrust immunity from the DOT to cooperate on pricing and routes. The DOT's decision expands trans-Atlantic immunity to airlines that fly the routes as part of the SkyTeam alliance.
Airlines that operate all business-class flights across the Atlantic are stepping in to fill a gap left by MAXJet. Eos and Silverjet continue to operate flights on trans-Atlantic routes. Meanwhile, British Airways said it will release details on its new trans-Atlantic airline next week.