EU Clears Air France-KLM Purchase Of Virgin Atlantic Stake
The European Commission has approved a share acquisition in Virgin Atlantic that would give Air-France-KLM, Delta and Virgin Group joint control of the airline.
The competition watchdog’s decision is over Air France-KLM’s purchase of a 31 percent stake in Virgin Atlantic. The ruling states that the Commission concluded the transaction would raise no competition concerns in the European Economic Area.
Regulators examined the impact of the transaction on the market for passenger transport, air freight, and maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services.
The Commission found that a small number of overlapping routes existed between Virgin Atlantic, Delta and Air France-KLM services, but they did not raise competition concerns as the airlines face significant competition from other carriers on the routes.
Also, the airlines’ combined slot portfolio is unlikely to have a negative effect on passengers at London Heathrow and Manchester airports, major hubs for Virgin Atlantic in the UK.
Delta has held a 49 percent stake in Virgin Atlantic since 2013, when it acquired Singapore Airlines’ entire shareholding in the UK carrier. Virgin Group retained a 51 percent controlling interest in Virgin Atlantic.
Air France-KLM’s 31 percent share purchase will dilute Virgin Group’s interest in the airline to 20 percent.