The Australian consumer watchdog yesterday formally approved the tie-up between Delta Air Lines and Virgin Blue’s V Australia on the trans-Pacific route.
Having given the two carriers a preliminary thumbs up early in November, this ruling was widely expected, and the two airlines are now one step closer to their operational tie-up, with the only hurdle now being approval from the United States regulators.
“The ACCC considers that the joint venture is likely to assist Virgin and Delta to compete more effectively against the incumbents on the routes – Qantas and United Airlines,” said Graeme Samuel, ACCC Chairman.
A decision from the US Department of Transportation on seeking antitrust immunity is pending, but as the deal is similar to the already approved partnership between Delta and Air France-KLM on the Atlantic, it doesn’t appear as if regulators will move to block it.
“Delta and V Australia are eager to move forward with their joint venture, and to bring new services to the market,” said Delta Air Lines in a statement.
“We look forward to a similar decision from the U.S. Department of Transportation and urge the DOT to quickly conclude its review so consumers can begin to enjoy the important benefits of the alliance identified by the ACCC.”If approved the joint venture on the trans-Pacific will see Delta operate its B777-200LRs in conjunction with V Australia’s B777-300ERs.
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: W.X