Delta & Virgin To Launch Gatwick – Boston / New York JFK

Delta and Virgin Atlantic will operate joint-flights from London Gatwick to Boston and New York JFK in 2020.

London Air Travel » Virgin Atlantic » Virgin Atlantic & Delta Joint-Venture

Hudson River Park New York
Hudson River Park New York (Image Credit: London Air Travel)

Delta and Virgin Atlantic have announced that the two airlines are to jointly fly from London Gatwick to Boston and New York JFK from 2020.

There’s a curious lack of detail in the announcement. Neither Delta nor Virgin Atlantic have confirmed which airlines will operating the routes, though Delta’s press release intimates that it will operate at least one of the routes. There’s also no mention of whether this will be a seasonal or year-round route, nor which aircraft will be used. In any event, eligible passengers will benefit from Virgin Atlantic ground facilities at Gatwick such as its Clubhouse in the North Terminal.

For Delta, this will mark a return to London Gatwick which it first served on 1 May 1978 flying to New Orleans via Atlanta using a Lockheed L-1011 TriStar aircraft. Virgin Atlantic launched daily flights from Gatwick to New York JFK in September 1989, and Boston in May 1991, before transferring both routes to London Heathrow after securing access to the airport in July 1991.

It is no accident that this announcement has been made ahead of a press event next week JetBlue which is expected to unveil plans to launch transatlantic flights to Europe. JetBlue has made no secret of its plans to launch transatlantic flights. It has been lobbying US regulatory authorities for slots at London Heathrow to be released as condition of Delta merging its transatlantic joint-ventures with Air France-KLM and Virgin Atlantic into one. However, this has yet to be concluded.

Boston is currently served from Gatwick by Norwegian. New York JFK is also served by BA and Norwegian. Whilst Delta is keen to emphasise its overall strength in Boston, London – Boston is a very important route for BA. Given BA serves Boston four times daily from Heathrow it would be surprising if it did not make a similar competitive response, should JetBlue announce plans to fly to Boston from Gatwick. These moves will of course place significant competitive pressure on Norwegian at Gatwick. JetBlue’s announcement on Wednesday 10 April 2019 is eagerly awaited.

Air France-KLM & Virgin Atlantic Start Reciprocal Codeshares

Air France-KLM and Virgin Atlantic have started to offer codeshares on their respective transatlantic networks.

London Air Travel » Virgin Atlantic » Virgin Atlantic & Delta Joint-Venture

KLM, Air France, Delta, Virgin Atlantic Tailfins (Image Credit: Delta Air Lines)
KLM, Air France, Delta, Virgin Atlantic Tailfins (Image Credit: Delta Air Lines)

Air France-KLM and Virgin Atlantic have started to roll out reciprocal codeshares on each other’s transatlantic networks.

The two airline groups are currently awaiting regulatory approval to combine their respective transatlantic joint-ventures with Delta into one.

Ahead of regulatory approval, Virgin Atlantic is now offering transatlantic flights on its website from UK airports via Air France-KLM hubs in Amsterdam and Paris Charles de Gaulle.

This is potentially useful when wanting to fly to Canada, which Virgin Atlantic does not serve, and wanting to avoid transiting in a US airport. It also provides for substantially more options for Virgin Atlantic passengers flying from UK regional airports, where Air France and KLM coverage is extensive.

Air France-KLM Virgin Atlantic Codeshare Flights
Air France-KLM Virgin Atlantic Codeshare Flights

Air France-KLM Virgin Atlantic Codeshare Flights
Air France-KLM Virgin Atlantic Codeshare Flights

As these have only just launched it may take a few days before codeshares are fully rolled out and all route and fare class options are available. At the time of writing the Air France website is offering Virgin Atlantic flights from London, but KLM is not.

Members of the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club can also earn miles and tier points when flying on Air France and KLM flights that are sold under Virgin Atlantic flight numbers, as per guidance from Virgin Atlantic.

This is some way short of launching a full joint-venture where the two groups can co-ordinate schedules and set fares jointly.
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Air France-KLM, Delta, & Virgin Atlantic’s Joint-Venture Plans

Air France-KLM, Delta and Virgin Atlantic have set out their plans to combine their respective transatlantic joint-ventures.

London Air Travel » Virgin Atlantic » Virgin Atlantic & Delta Joint-Venture

KLM, Air France, Delta, Virgin Atlantic Tailfins (Image Credit: Delta Air Lines)
KLM, Air France, Delta, Virgin Atlantic Tailfins (Image Credit: Delta Air Lines)

Air France-KLM, Delta and Virgin Atlantic have this week sought regulatory approval from the Department of Transportation in the United States to combine their respective transatlantic joint-ventures.

The documents they have submitted as part of this process give a flavour of what we can expect when the combined joint-venture takes effect.

Delta and Virgin Atlantic have operated a joint-venture between the UK and USA since 2013 and wish to combine this with Delta’s joint-venture with Air France-KLM. Delta owns 49% of Virgin Atlantic. When the joint-venture completes, Air France KLM will acquire a stake in Virgin Atlantic from Virgin Group, making Delta the single largest shareholder.

Headline Changes

– The airlines have expressed a desire to co-locate at London Heathrow. Given Virgin Atlantic’s significant investment at Terminal 3, this would most likely mean Air France and KLM moving from Terminal 4 to 3.

– Virgin Atlantic will codeshare on Air France and KLM flights from UK airports to their respective hubs in Paris Charles de Gaulle and Amsterdam.

– Virgin Atlantic will also codeshare on Air France and KLM flights around the world, thus offering significantly more booking options to Virgin Atlantic passengers.

– Virgin Atlantic will retain its own frequent flyer programme, but with earning and redemption opportunities on Air France and KLM flights.

In practice, this is likely to be rolled out progressively and codeshares may only be available for certain routings, eg when connecting to/from certain destinations covered by the joint-venture.

Competing Against American Airlines and British Airways

A clear theme is a desire/need for Virgin Atlantic and Delta to be a stronger competitor against BA and Oneworld at London Heathrow and in the UK market, particularly for corporate customers and frequent flyers.

The combined joint-venture sees it itself as a much stronger competitor in UK regional airports such as Manchester and Glasgow where it can offer both direct flights to the US and connections via Amsterdam and Paris Charles de Gaulle.

Air France and KLM can also compensate for Virgin’s relatively weak non-US network where it can offer codeshares to a very large number of worldwide destinations. Indeed, Air France and KLM serve very many destinations in Africa and Asia that are not served by BA.

As Virgin Atlantic reported a loss in 2017, achieving higher margin corporate revenue and cost savings from merging back office functions will be critical to its future.

There is a degree of irony in this submission in that BA and KLM did once explore a merger. This was arguably one of the greatest missed opportunities in aviation. The plan for co-operation between Virgin and Air France-KLM was very much that could have been explored between BA and KLM. It will be interesting to see how American Airlines and BA respond, both at Heathrow and at UK regional airports.
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Virgin Atlantic adds Atlanta & Delta adds Los Angeles in Heathrow shuffle

Virgin Atlantic and Delta Air Lines have announced changes to their schedules between London Heathrow and Atlanta and Los Angeles as part of their transatlantic joint-venture.

London Air Travel » Virgin Atlantic » Virgin Atlantic & Delta Joint-Venture

Virgin Atlantic & Delta Air Lines Aircraft (Image Credit: Delta Air Lines)

We have to admit to being a little surprised by this news.

Virgin Atlantic and Delta, partners together in a relatively new transatlantic joint-venture, have announced that they will swap flights between London Heathrow and Los Angeles and Atlanta from 26 October 2014.

Delta will take over one of Virgin Atlantic’s twice daily London Heathrow – Los Angeles flights. Virgin Atlantic will take over one of Delta’s thrice daily London Heathrow – Atlanta flights.

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Virgin Atlantic & Delta to operate New York “shuttle”

London Air Travel » Virgin Atlantic » Virgin Atlantic & Delta Joint-Venture

Virgin Atlantic & Delta Air Lines Aircraft (Image Credit: Delta Air Lines)

Following the grant of anti-trust immunity by the US Department of Transportation, Virgin Atlantic and Delta have today confirmed they will co-ordinate their schedules to operate a nine times daily shuttle service on the London Heathrow – New York (Newark & JFK) route from 30 March 2014.

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Delta & Virgin Atlantic to start codesharing on transatlantic flights

London Air Travel » Virgin Atlantic » Virgin Atlantic & Delta Joint-Venture

Virgin Atlantic & Delta Air Lines Aircraft (Image Credit: Delta Air Lines)

Delta and Virgin Atlantic have announced the start of codeshares on each other’s transatlantic flights between the UK and North America for bookings made from 29 June 2013 for travel from 3 July 2013.

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US Department of Justice approves Delta’s investment in Virgin Atlantic

London Air Travel » Virgin Atlantic » Virgin Atlantic & Delta Joint-Venture

Virgin Atlantic & Delta Air Lines Aircraft (Image Credit: Delta Air Lines)

The US Department of Justice has today, 20 July 2013, issued a statement confirming that it intends to take no further action in respect of the proposed acquisition by Delta Air Lines of Singapore Airlines’ 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic and the proposed joint-venture between Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic for routes between London Heathrow and North America.

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