Virgin Atlantic has launched its new transatlantic joint-business with Air France-KLM and Delta.
Virgin has had a transatlantic joint-business with Delta since 2014. It has also had a reciprocal codeshare with Air France-KLM on transatlantic routes since March 2019.
Delta has a long-standing transatlantic joint-business with Air France-KLM and the launch of the new combined joint-business allows all three airline groups to co-ordinate transatlantic routes, schedules and fares between Europe and North America.
A key principle of the joint-business is that it is “metal neutral”. This means all participating airlines much treat each other’s flights equally for selling purposes.
At first, passengers are unlikely to notice too much difference. However, the three airlines have mooted closer co-operation such as co-location at airports which could ultimately see Air France and KLM moving flights into London Heathrow Terminal 3.
The first significant change is that from Thursday 13 February 2020 members of the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club will benefit from full reciprocal frequent flyer recognition when flying on the worldwide short and long-haul networks of Air France, Delta and KLM.
Air France-KLM was due to acquire a 31% stake in Virgin Atlantic. However, this has since been abandoned and Virgin Group will retain control of Virgin Atlantic. Virgin may still explore greater co-operation with Air France and KLM on routes outside of North America, where the latter airlines have a substantially greater route network.