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Delta’s purchase of a 49 per cent stake in Virgin Atlantic has been cleared by regulators in Europe and the US.
Both the European Commission and the Department of Justice in the US have given the green light to the proposed purchase, which was announced by Delta and Virgin in December.
Delta is buying the minority stake in Virgin Atlantic from current owner Singapore Airlines. Delta and Virgin also plan to operate a joint business on flights between the UK and the US.
The EC said in a statement: “The commission's investigation confirmed that in all markets the combined entity would continue to face competition from several strong competitors, notably British Airways and American Airlines.
“On each of the transatlantic routes where both Virgin and Delta operate, sufficiently strong players – in particular British Airways and American Airlines, which joined forces in a joint venture - are present and capable of exercising a significant competitive constraint on the combined entity.”
A similar conclusion was reached by the DOJ in the US, which said: “The Antitrust Division concluded that the facts and circumstances did not warrant further investigation or action.”
Delta and Virgin still need to obtain anti-trust immunity (ATI) from the US Department of Transportation to operate the planned transatlantic joint venture. The DOT is currently reviewing this application.