The European Commission (EC) has now approved the joint control of Virgin Atlantic by Air France, KLM and Delta Airlines. US airline Delta already owns 49 percent of Virgin Atlantic. The EC’s decision means that the Air France/KLM group can proceed with its 31 percent ownership of Virgin Atlantic.
What will it mean for the passenger?
So far there are no changes to the schedules which have been finalized already, such as the intention by Virgin Atlantic to operate Tel Aviv, London, North American services. But in the months and years ahead one would expect to see a number more schedule changes.
For example Delhi-based analyst Vinamra Langani tweeted that he would “expect to see a second daily Delhi-London flight after this JV approval with Virgin Atlantic operating an overnight flight [Delhi-London] to connect [at Heathrow] to the US with slots to come from Air France/KLM.”
As previously reported, both Air France and KLM have been “slot sitting” at London Heathrow for years. Some of the slots have been sold in the past, some have been leased to other carriers. For example, Kenya Air leases its Heathrow slot from KLM after having sold its slot to Oman Air for a record-breaking $75 million in 2016.
Further changes can be expected if the Virgin Atlantic and Stobart Group acquisition of Flybe is successful.