WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao today announced that the Department has given final approval to an application by Delta Air Lines, Air France, KLM, and Virgin Atlantic to launch an expanded joint venture for all services between the United States and Europe. The expanded joint venture will replace two previously approved arrangements in the U.S.-United Kingdom and U.S.-continental Europe markets. The new joint venture will offer consumers the same benefits from the prior joint ventures, such as increased capacity and frequent flyer cooperation, as well as new benefits such as more options on European flights.
The action by the Department is described in a Final Order adopting the tentative decision published on August 2, 2019, which approves the joint venture and makes a grant of antitrust immunity to enable the carriers to implement the arrangements. The Final Order includes conditions that will protect competition, promote public benefits such as additional flights and increased seat availability, and enable the Department to monitor the effects of the joint venture for consumers.
The Department is requiring that the carriers report annually on the progress of their commercial cooperation and provide a detailed assessment after five years. This would undergo a comprehensive, data-driven review by the Department and focus on key competition issues.