Virgin and Delta Airlines set to commence commercial venture

Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic are set to commence their commercial venture, sharing revenue and flights between the UK and USA, after receiving antitrust immunity from the US Department of Transportation (DOT).

Accordingly, the two airlines will jointly offer a total of 32 flights a day between the UK and the US starting next spring. These include a new schedule of flights between Heathrow and JFK from March 30, 2014, with seven direct services a day on the route. Three of these will depart Heathrow in the morning, followed by three afternoon departures between 14.00 and 17.35, with another leaving in the evening.

On the return leg, one will depart JFK at 7.40, followed by evening departures every half hour between 18.30 and 20.30, and then two hourly departures until 22.30.

Of the 32 total flights, 24 will operate between Heathrow and popular destinations such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta and Washington. The services will be complemented by two daily flights between Newark airport and Heathrow.

In their filing to the DOT, Delta and Virgin Atlantic said nearly 60 percent of the slots at Heathrow were controlled by British Airways and American Airlines partnership. ‘By combining Virgin Atlantic’s Heathrow slots and U.K. brand strength with Delta’s powerful US network, the joint venture will offer significant competition in the market and benefit consumers on both sides of the Atlantic,’ the filing said.

Following the approval, Ed Bastian, Delta’s president said: ‘We are delighted that the Department of Transportation recognises that the immunised partnership offers significant advantages to customers. The freedom to cooperate fully with Virgin Atlantic will initiate a new era of greater competition in the New York to London market where it is much needed. We have a proven record in making joint ventures succeed and we look forward to building our relationship with Virgin Atlantic.’

Craig Kreeger, Virgin’s CEO, added: ‘Today represents a huge opportunity for both Virgin Atlantic’s passengers and our business. Our partnership with Delta means we will be able to offer convenient aligned schedules and a much broader network, giving the best possible travel choices and on board experience to trans-Atlantic passengers.’

Delta Air Lines receives rating from Executive Travel Magazine

Executive Travel Magazine has rated delta Air Lines, an air carrier that operates between Africa and the United States.

Executive Travel Magazine’s readers nominated the company as ‘Best Flight Experience to Africa’. The carrier won gold status, which is the highest level award. Other contenders for the award were South African Airways and British Airways.

The nomination was part of the magazine’s Leading Edge Awards, 2012. The awards, which are given annually, honour travel providers that service clients with innovative and high-quality products and services, and this is the 10th year that the awards have been made.

Perry Cantarutti, Delta Air Line’s senior vice president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said, ‘Delta has flown almost three million customers between Africa and the United States since we launched our first flights to Africa in 2006 and this award shows our customers value the service we offer. We’ll continue to invest in our customers’ experience by introducing more flatbed seats and international Wi-Fi on Africa routes over the coming months.’

Delta Air Lines offers:

Daily non-stop service between Johannesburg and Atlanta

Five weekly services between Accra and New York-JFK

Daily non-stop service between Lagos and Atlanta

Three weekly services between Monrovia and New York-JFK, via Accra

Up to three weekly non-stop services between Dakar and New York-JFK

Passengers using the services to the US can benefit from connections to 160 onward destinations from Atlanta and 55 destinations from New York-JFK.

The company is now offering new, custom-designed flatbed seats on all wide-body aircraft on its international routes. With direct aisle access, occupants of the seats can opt for Delta on Demand in-seat entertainment. By 2014, the company is planning to offer such services on all flights between Accra and the US.

BusinessElite passengers travelling from Accra are offered a personalised escort from check in to security clearance, and lounge pick-up to arrival and baggage collection.