The world’s largest airline, Atlanta-based <a href="delta.com" target="_blank">Delta</a>, announced it has purchased a 49% stake in Richard Branson’s <a href="http://www.virginamerica.com/" target="_blank">Virgin Airlines</a>.
Virgin is the United Kingdom’s second largest airline. The partnership is expected to give Delta even greater access to Europe.
According to a<a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/todayinthesky/2013/06/24/delta-virgin-atlantic-to-begin-passenger-sharing-in-july/2451833/" target="_blank"> report</a> at <a href="usatoday.com" target="_blank">USAToday.com</a>, the airlines hope the move, first announced in December, will give them a competitive boost -- both at London's capacity controlled Heathrow Airport and on the highly lucrative trans-Atlantic routes between the United States and Europe.
"Heathrow is a hugely important travel market where Delta has long wanted greater access," Delta President Ed Bastian said. "Eight of the top 10 trans-Atlantic markets (are) to Heathrow and it's the No.1 destination for corporate travelers between the U.S. and the U.K."
"But our options at Heathrow were limited, so when the opportunity to form a partnership with Virgin Atlantic came along, we moved quickly," he added. "For Delta, this deal is a game-changer. It transforms out ability to compete on trans-Atlantic routes."
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