WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao has given final approval to joint venture involving Delta Air Lines, Air France, KLM, and Virgin Atlantic.
The quartet of major international carriers want to launch an expanded joint venture for all services between the United States and Europe.
The new JV will replace two previously approved arrangements in the U.S.-UK and U.S.-continental Europe markets. The new joint venture will offer consumers the same benefits from the prior joint ventures, including increased capacity and frequent flyer co-operation, as well as new benefits such as more options on European flights.
The action by the Department is described in a Final Order adopting the tentative decision published on August 2, 2019, which approves the joint venture and makes a grant of antitrust immunity to enable the carriers to implement the arrangements. The Final Order, the department says, includes conditions that will protect competition, promote public benefits such as additional flights and increased seat availability, and enable the Department to monitor the effects of the joint venture for consumers.
The Transportation department is requiring that the carriers report annually on the progress of their commercial co-operation and provide a detailed assessment after five years. This, the department says, would undergo a comprehensive, data-driven review and focus on key competition issues.