Virgin Atlantic teams up with Delta after stake deal

 

Virgin Atlantic has agreed to set up a transatlantic joint venture with Delta after the United States carrier bought a 49 per cent stake in Sir Richard Branson's airline for $360m (£224m).

The airlines will share costs and revenues on routes between Britain and North America, which will comprise a total of 31 round-trip flights a day, including nine from Heathrow to JFK in New York and Newark in New Jersey. The joint venture is related to Delta's acquisition of Singapore Airlines' near-half stake in Virgin Atlantic, the company set up by Sir Richard Branson in 1984 in which he retains a controlling 51 per cent share.

The agreements were revealed after British Airways' head, Willie Walsh, continued his long-running spat with Sir Richard. Mr Walsh hit back at Sir Richard's offer of a £1m bet on whether the Virgin Atlantic brand would disappear, saying he'd back a wager – if the stake was a "knee in the groin".

Mr Walsh, chief executive of BA's owner International Airlines Group, had said the Virgin Atlantic brand would disappear if Delta succeeded with its bid for Singapore Airlines' stake. That led to the airline's founder dismissing Mr Walsh's words as "wishful thinking and totally misguided" and saw Sir Richard say: "Rather than suing them on this occasion, I will pay £1m to their staff if Virgin Atlantic disappears within say five years. If not, BA pays our staff £1m."

But Mr Walsh claimed Sir Richard's terms aren't clear, or fair. He said: "[Sir Richard] says he intends to carry on flying for many years. Is he going to be the 51 per cent owner of Virgin Atlantic in five years from now? If he wants to bet that, I think it would be an acceptable bet. But he's a billionaire banker – allegedly – and I don't think a million pounds would hurt him. I don't have a million pounds, so the bet should be as painful to him as it would be to me. A knee in the groin would be acceptable."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Sales Assistant / Buyer

£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Manager

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'