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Delta, Virgin Blue Welcome Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Draft Decision on Joint Venture Application
2 November 2009: Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) and the Virgin Blue Airlines Group (ASX: VBA) welcome the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) draft determination to grant authorisation to the airlines’ proposed joint venture.
The draft determination recognises that the proposed alliance will enhance the strong competition on trans-Pacific routes. The proposed alliance will allow the carriers to provide an enhanced service and develop future services and routes, through collaboration on route and product planning, codesharing on their respective networks and the extension of frequent flyer program benefits and lounge access to customers of both airlines.
This cooperation will allow the carriers to offer seamless, integrated travel between cities throughout the Australian and US domestic markets. This enhanced network-to-network product will enable the maintenance and expansion of existing trans-Pacific scheduling and the introduction of new direct trans-Pacific routes.
The proposed alliance also fulfils a key policy rationale behind the Australia-US Open Skies Agreement, introducing further and sustained competition on one of Australia’s most important air routes.
Delta and Virgin Blue will continue to cooperate with the ACCC as part of the authorisation process and look forward to the final decision in due course. Delta and V Australia are awaiting a similar positive decision from the U.S. Department of Transportation in order to proceed with their joint venture.
About Delta Air Lines
Delta Air Lines, the world’s No. 1 airline, serves more than 170 million passengers each year. With its unsurpassed global network, Delta, its Northwest subsidiary and the Delta Connection carriers offer service to 355 destinations in 64 countries on six continents. Delta employs more than 70,000 employees worldwide and operates a mainline fleet of nearly 800 aircraft. A founding member of the SkyTeam global alliance, Delta participates in the industry’s leading trans-Atlantic joint venture with Air France KLM. Including its worldwide alliance partners, Delta offers customers more than 16,000 daily flights, with hubs in Amsterdam, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Detroit, Memphis, Minneapolis-St. Paul, New York-JFK, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Salt Lake City and Tokyo-Narita. The airline’s service includes the SkyMiles frequent flier program, the world’s largest airline loyalty program; the award-winning BusinessElite service; and more than 50 Delta Sky Clubs in airports worldwide. Customers can check in for flights, print boarding passes, check bags and flight status at delta.com.
About Virgin Blue
Nine-year old Virgin Blue Airlines Group carries 18 million guests annually and comprises Australia’s domestic airline Virgin Blue, Long Haul international airline V Australia, New Zealand-based Pacific Blue and Polynesian Blue*, a joint venture airline with the Government of Samoa. Together the airlines operate a fleet of 81 modern Boeing 737-NGs, Boeing 777 and Embraer E-Jet aircraft flying to 28 Australian and 13 international destinations in the U.S., South Pacific and Southeast Asia. The airline group is much acclaimed for outstanding guest service. Recently, Virgin Blue was awarded Australia’s highest national customer service accolade. The airline was acknowledged as having the highest customer service standards of any organization at the 2008 Australian customer Service Institute Awards.
Also in 2008 Australian travel agents again voted Virgin Blue Australia’s “Best National Airline” and “Best Regional Airline” at the annual National Travel Industry Awards (NITA). Velocity, the airline’s loyalty program, was awarded 2009 “Program of the Year” in the global Freddie Awards, which recognize the world’s most outstanding airline frequent flyer programs.
*Polynesian Blue is not included in the joint venture alliance.