Major American and European combination carriers Delta Air Lines, Air France-KLM and Virgin Atlantic have launched their expanded trans-Atlantic joint venture for air cargo, a partnership that accounts for 23% of total trans-Atlantic cargo capacity and more than 600,000 tonnes per year.
The JV received regulatory approval Nov. 21, at which time Air France-KLM had expected to acquire a stake in Virgin Atlantic as part of the deal. However, those plans were scrapped as the acquisition was “no longer necessary” to the JV, according to an Air France-KLM statement in early December.
The JV will see the companies using co-located cargo facilities and joint trucking options, as well as booking and service options for customers across the three carriers’ network. The carriers already co-locate their operations in certain U.S., U.K. and European airports, and will consider adding more locations.
Combined, the three carriers offer up to 341 daily trans-Atlantic services on 110 direct routes. With connections, the JV offers service to 238 cities in North America, 98 in Europe and 16 in the U.K., according to a joint statement by the carriers.