Delta Air Lines, based in Atlanta, Georgia, the United States, and the Virgin Blue Airlines Group, headquartered in Brisbane, Australia, have announced jointly that their code-share flights will take off in January 2010.
The 6 new flights will mark the starting of a marketing alliance announced earlier between Delta Air Lines and V Australia, the long-haul airline of the Virgin Blue Airlines Group, to offer passengers access to more destinations across the Pacific as well as reciprocal airport lounge and frequent-flier benefits, the two carriers said in a joint statement.
According to the statement, once the new pact takes effect, customers of Virgin Blue can book tickets for travel beginning January 18, 2010, on flights operated by Delta Air Lines between Los Angeles and John F Kennedy International Airport in New York, Cincinnati, Salt Lake City, and Orlando in the United States.
Customers of Delta Air Lines can book tickets for travel starting February 15, 2010, on flights operated by Virgin Blue between Sydney and Brisbane and Melbourne in Australia.
With the starting of the code-share flights, members of Delta SkyMiles can earn SkyMiles on the flights of V Australia as well as on the domestic flights of Virgin Blue.
Delta Air Lines’ BusinessElite, Diamond Medallion, Platinum, and Gold members as well as the members of Sky Club will get complimentary access to Virgin Blue’s lounges at airports throughout Australia.
Virgin Blue’s Velocity members will be eligible to earn frequent-flier miles for travel on Delta Air Lines and also get complimentary access to 50 Sky Club locations across the world.
It was a week ago that Australian Competition and Consumer Commission had approved the Delta Air Lines-Virgin Blue joint venture for flights between Australia and the United States.
The United States Department of Transportation has already approved the code-sharing between Delta Air Lines and Virgin Blue, and it is in the process of reviewing the applications for antitrust immunity filed by the two airlines.
Already, Delta Air Lines, the biggest airline in the world in terms of traffic, has immunity from antitrust laws to cooperate with Air France-KLM to operate trans-Atlantic flights.
A joint venture lets airlines share cost and revenues on certain flights irrespective of which airline owns or flies the plane. In a simple code-sharing agreement, one carrier bears all the cost, but another airline may get a share of the revenue for booking a passenger on a flight.
Normally, joint ventures are allowed only in regions where the Unites States has full ‘open skies’ pacts with other countries. At present, the United States has open skies agreements with Australia and the member-nations of the European Union (EU).
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