Customers benefit from more destinations and ways to earn and spend frequent flyer points
The new partnership provides customers with more convenient flight schedules and a shared goal of ensuring a smooth and consistent travel experience, whichever airline people fly. The partnership also provides the flexibility to book flights on any of the four carriers through their respective mobile apps, websites, or via travel agents. Customers will enjoy award-winning service, top-tier premium cabin products and complimentary food, drink and seat-back in-flight entertainment in all cabins on all trans-Atlantic flights.
Enhanced customer benefits starting from 13 February mean that loyalty programme members will be able to earn and use miles or enjoy elite benefits for flights on any of the four airlines’ worldwide operations, including a trans-Atlantic trip, intra-Europe hops, or domestic U.S. journey, offering more opportunities to quickly move through loyalty tiers and reach a higher status. Eligible Elite loyalty programme members can also enjoy priority boarding and relax in over 100 airport lounges when travelling internationally.
Other highlights include:
- Up to 341 peak daily trans-Atlantic services, covering the top 10 routes on a nonstop basis
- Onward connections to 238 cities in North America, 98 in continental Europe and 16 in the UK
- A choice of 110 nonstop trans-Atlantic routes
The enhanced network is also fully available to cargo customers and is built around the carriers’ hubs in Amsterdam, Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, London Heathrow, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York-JFK, Paris, Seattle and Salt Lake City. It creates convenient nonstop or one-stop connections to every corner of North America, Europe and the U.K..
Virgin Atlantic CEO Shai Weiss said: “Customers are at the heart of this expanded joint venture with our partners Delta, Air France and KLM, where seamless connections, greater range of flights, unrivalled customer service and increased frequent flyer benefits will reinforce its position as the choice passengers most love to fly. One of the pillars of our strategy is successfully collaborating with our partners. Combining our strengths, our network, and our people allows us to achieve more together.”
The customer benefits effective this month are just the start with more initiatives being rolled out later this year such as the launch of more codeshare routes, aligning schedules to reduce connection times and smoothing the airport experience from check-in to baggage claim. Customers will also aoon be able to check-in and select their seat through any of the partner airline mobile apps or websites.
Delta CEO Ed Bastian commented: “Our expanded partnership is a major step forward for all of our airlines as we deliver greater reliability, top travel benefits and leading service that our customers deserve. Today’s launch brings our historic, longstanding collaboration to a new level as we continue to build the partnership of choice across Europe and North America that sets us apart from the rest of the industry.”
“Ten years after starting our joint venture with Delta, this new agreement is a major milestone that will even further reinforce our presence on the Atlantic, by allowing our passengers the choice between four major airlines combining their network for the benefit of our customers,” said Air France-KLM Group CEO Benjamin Smith. “For Air France–KLM, it also means greater access to the U.K. market and especially London Heathrow, the leading global travel market.”
Other key facts and figures on the expanded joint venture:
- The JV represents approximately 23 per cent of total passenger and cargo trans-Atlantic capacity
- Combined annual revenues of the JV are estimated at US$13 billion
- Over 180,000 employees work across Air France, KLM, Delta and Virgin Atlantic
Notes to Editors
- Air France, KLM and Delta have been in a joint venture partnership between Europe and North America since 2009, while Virgin Atlantic and Delta have had a partnership between the U.K. and North America since 2013. Establishing a single transatlantic joint venture was the next strategic step in the collaboration between the airlines
- In 2019 the airlines began paving the way for their expanded cooperation with the start of the first codeshares between Air France, KLM and Virgin Atlantic. The agreement offered Virgin Atlantic customers up to 58 new routes from 18 U.K. airports across the Atlantic via Paris and Amsterdam, while Air France and KLM customers were given access to 24 new North America routes operated by Virgin Atlantic and Delta departing the U.K. including connections via London Heathrow and Manchester.
- Governance of the joint venture will be
- equally shared between the Air France-KLM Group, Delta and Virgin Atlantic. An executive committee comprising the three CEOs and a management committee of representatives from departments across the businesses will define future strategy.
- The customer benefits of the joint venture are unaffected by the recent confirmation that Air France-KLM will no longer buy a 31 per cent stake in Virgin Atlantic. Virgin Group will retain its 51 per cent majority stake in Virgin Atlantic, with Delta continuing to hold 49 per cent.
About Air France
Air France, a global airline of French inspiration, with high standards and a caring attitude, turns the flight into a moment of real pleasure on all its daily operations in France, Europe and worldwide.
Air France-KLM is the leading Group in terms of international traffic on departure from Europe. It offers its customers access to a network covering 314 destinations in 116 countries thanks to Air France, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Transavia. With a fleet of 548 aircraft and 101.4 million passengers carried in 2018, Air France-KLM operates up to 2,300 daily flights, mainly from its hubs at Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Amsterdam-Schiphol.
Its Flying Blue frequent flyer programme is one of the leaders in Europe with over 15 million members.
The group also offers cargo transport and aeronautical maintenance solutions.
Air France-KLM is also a member of the SkyTeam alliance which has 19 member airlines, offering customers access to a global network of over 14,500 daily flights to more than 1,150 destinations in more than 175 countries.
For 100 years, KLM has been a pioneer in the airline industry and is the oldest airline to still be operating under its original name. KLM aims to be the most customer-focused, innovative and efficient airline in Europe, offering reliable service and top-quality products.
KLM carried a record 34.1 million passengers in 2018, offering its passengers direct flights to 162 destinations with a modern fleet of more than 214 aircraft. The airline employs a workforce of more 33,000 people worldwide. The KLM network connects the Netherlands with all of the world’s key economic regions and is a powerful engine driving the Netherlands’ economy. KLM will be the first airline in the world celebrating its one hundred anniversary.
Air France–KLM Group
Since the merger in 2004, KLM has been part of the Air France–KLM Group. This merger gave rise to one of Europe’s leading airline groups, with two strong brands operating out of two major hubs: Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and Paris Charles de Gaulle. The group focuses of three key activities: passenger and cargo transport, and aircraft maintenance. Together, the two airlines carry almost 100 million passengers a year.
KLM is also a member of the global SkyTeam Alliance, which has 19 member airlines and a joint network of 1.150 destinations in 175 countries.
Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) is the U.S. global airline leader in products, services, innovation, reliability and customer experience. Powered by its 80,000 people around the world, Delta continues to invest billions in its people, improving the air travel experience and generating industry-leading shareholder returns. Headquartered in Atlanta, Delta offers more than 5,000 daily departures and as many as 15,000 affiliated departures including the premier SkyTeam alliance, of which Delta is a founding member. The airline serves over 200 million people every year, taking customers to more than 300 destinations in over 50 countries. Delta operates significant hubs and key markets at airports in the United States and worldwide in conjunction with its alliance partners.
About Virgin Atlantic
Virgin Atlantic was founded by entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson 35 years ago with innovation and customer service at its core. Today Virgin Atlantic carries 5.4 million customers annually and was recently voted Britain’s only Global Five Star Airline by APEX for the third year running in the Official Airline Ratings. Headquartered in London, Virgin Atlantic employs more than 10,000 people worldwide and operates a fleet of 45 aircraft serving 25 destinations across four continents. Alongside joint venture partner Delta Air Lines they operate a leading transatlantic network - offering up to 38 flights per day between the UK and US with onward connections to over 200 US and international cities. In September 2019, Virgin Atlantic took delivery of its first Airbus A350-1000 aircraft - helping to transform the fleet into one of the quietest and most fuel efficient in the sky.
The airline’s ambition is to become Britain’s second flag carrier at an expanded Heathrow airport, connecting passengers between a domestic, European, and global network. More information on the campaign for slot reform can be found here: www.twoflagcarriers.com.
On May 15, 2018 Air France-KLM, Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic Limited signed definitive agreements to combine the existing trans-Atlantic joint ventures. From February 2020 the airlines’ expanded joint venture will become the preferred choice for customers travelling across the Atlantic offering the most comprehensive route network, convenient flight schedules, competitive fares and reciprocal frequent flyer benefits, including the ability to earn and redeem miles across all carriers.
In July 2019 the Connect Airways consortium - comprising Virgin Atlantic, Stobart Group and Cyrus Capital Partners - acquired Flybe. Flybe is Europe’s largest regional airline, flying 9.4 million passengers each year across 120 routes, connecting customers around the UK regions to Virgin Atlantic hubs in Manchester and London Heathrow. In October 2019, Flybe announced it will become ‘Virgin Connect’ in 2020.