Delta Air, Air France, Virgin Atlantic, China Eastern Ink Billion-Dollar Deal

Sir Richard Branson Launches The Virgin Atlantic Little Red Flight At Edinburgh Airport

Meanwhile, the 220 million British pound ($287 million) investment that Air France-KLM is making in Virgin Atlantic will leave Richard Branson's Virgin Group with just 20% ownership in the carrier.

Once the transaction receives regulatory and board approval, Air France-KLM will become the second-largest shareholder in Virgin Atlantic after Delta, which holds 49 percent.

The new venture, which will also include troubled Italian carrier Alitalia, will operate 300 transatlantic flights per day. Walsh, whose company owns rival British Airways amongst others, predicted that the Virgin Atlantic brand would disappear within five years after its joint venture with Delta.

French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire welcomed the investment plan between Air France-KLM, Delta Air Lines, China Eastern Airlines and Virgin Atlantic, calling it a "global strategic and industrial reinforcement", of the Franco-Dutch joint venture.

They add that the enhanced joint venture - including Alitalia (which is now struggling to survive-Ed) - would become the airline partnership of choice for customers, offering more than 300 daily non-stop transatlantic flights. A month later, the US carrier announced a joint venture with Korean Air Lines.

Airlines have been moving away from traditional alliances that gave fliers the ability to book a single ticket across multiple airlines, earn frequent flier miles and gain access to shared lounges around the globe.

Ben Stokes describes Oval century as the hardest of his England career
The move was inspired, as Roland-Jones had Dean Elgar caught behind for eight with his 10 delivery, in the final over before tea. He had Westley chasing a delivery outside off-stump to gift a simple catch to the South Africa skipper at second slip.

Branson says in a statement that this is a "fantastic opportunity to extend our network and create a stronger customer champion".

It's unusual to think but Virgin Atlantic has now been flying for half my lifetime.

The Franco-Dutch airline retains a 7.08 percent stake in Alitalia, now in Administration, while Etihad owns 49 percent.

Craig Kreeger, CEO, Virgin Atlantic, said: "We built the Virgin Atlantic brand by providing customers with the choice they deserve and a travel experience they love". The acquisition maintains a majority of Virgin held by European hands, but puts 80% of the ownership of the airline outside of the United Kingdom.

Delta said Thursday that it intends to buy a 10% stake in Air France for EUR375 million euros, about $437 million, as the longtime partners aim to strengthen their position on the lucrative trans-Atlantic market.

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