Delta and Virgin Atlantic To Form Strategic Alliance

             Delta and Virgin Atlantic To Form Strategic Alliance

Delta to invest $360 million in acquiring a 49 percent stake in Virgin
Atlantic

New joint venture to include expanded trans-Atlantic network and enhanced
customer benefits

PR Newswire

ATLANTA and LONDON, Dec. 11, 2012

ATLANTA and LONDON, Dec. 11, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL)
and Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd. have reached an agreement for a new joint
venture that will create an expanded trans-Atlantic network and enhance
competition between the U.K. and North America, offering greater benefits for
customers traveling on those routes. 

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20090202/DELTALOGO )

As part of this joint venture agreement, Delta will invest $360 million in
Virgin Atlantic, acquiring a 49 percent stake currently held by Singapore
Airlines. Virgin Group and Sir Richard Branson will retain the majority 51
percent stake and Virgin Atlantic Airways will retain its brand and operating
certificate.

Highlights of the agreement include:

  oA fully integrated joint venture that will operate on a "metal neutral"
    basis with both airlines sharing the costs and revenues from all joint
    venture flights.
  oA combined trans-Atlantic network between the United Kingdom and North
    America with 31 peak-day round-trip flights.
  oEnhanced benefits for customers including cooperation on services between
    New York and London, with a combined total of nine daily round-trip
    flights from London-Heathrow to John F. Kennedy International Airport and
    Newark Liberty International Airport.
  oReciprocal frequent flyer benefits.
  oShared access to Delta Sky Club and Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse airport
    lounges for elite passengers.

The airlines will file an application with the U.S. Department of
Transportation for antitrust immunity, which will allow a closer relationship
and coordination on schedules and operations. The transaction also will be
reviewed by the U.S. Department of Justice and the European Union's
competition regulator and other relevant authorities. The share purchase and
the joint venture are expected to be implemented by the end of 2013.

"Our new partnership with Virgin Atlantic will strengthen both airlines and
provide a more effective competitor between North America and the U.K.,
particularly on the New York-London route, which is the largest airline route
between the U.S. and Europe," said Delta CEO Richard Anderson. "By combining
the strengths of our two companies in a joint venture, we can provide
customers with a seamless network between North America and the U.K., and
continue building a better airline for our customers, employees and
shareholders."

Steve Ridgway, Virgin Atlantic Chief Executive, added: "Consumers will reap
the rewards of this partnership between two great airline brands on services
from the UK to the USA, Canada and Mexico through a shared ethos in the
highest standards of customer service. This joint venture will deliver much
more effective competition at Heathrow.

"Both airlines are confident that the Department of Transportation will be as
convinced as we are of the extensive consumer benefits arising from this joint
venture, with expedited approval being granted by the end of 2013. The
trans-Atlantic market is Virgin Atlantic's heartland - it's where we started.
By aligning with Delta we can continue to grow our North American network and
offer greatly enhanced connectivity across the USA."

Virgin Atlantic President, Sir Richard Branson, commented: "This is an
exciting day in Virgin Atlantic history. It signals the start of a new era of
expansion, financial growth and many opportunities for our customers and our
business. I truly look forward to the possibilities our partnership with Delta
will offer. We have always been known for our innovation and service and have
punched above our weight for 28 years. That is why our customers love us so
much. We will retain that independent spirit but move forward in a
strengthened partnership with Delta."

Delta and Virgin Atlantic customers will be able to earn and redeem miles
across Delta's SkyMiles and Virgin Atlantic's FlyingClub frequent flyer
programs. Premium customers also will have reciprocal access to the Delta Sky
Club and Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse airport lounges. Full details will be
announced as services become available.

The partnership allows both carriers to offer a greatly expanded network at
Heathrowand to overcome slot constraints, which have limited the growth and
competitive capability of both airlines. The two carriers will operate a total
of 31 peak-day round-trip flights between the U.K. and North America, 23 of
which operate at London-Heathrow. The enlarged network will benefit customers
of both carriers by providing greater access to a broader network, improved
connectivity and convenient booking options.

As part of a $3 billion investment in enhanced global products, services and
airport facilities, all of Delta's flights between the U.S. and
London-Heathrow feature full flat-bed seats offering direct aisle access in
the BusinessElite cabin. These flights also offer Delta's popular Economy
Comfort seating in the forward section of the economy cabin. Economy Comfort
offers four additional inches of legroom and 50 percent more recline compared
to standard economy seats. All cabins offer in-seat audio and video on demand
with a broad range of in-flight entertainment options. Delta also will begin
introducing in-flight WiFi service on international flights beginning in 2013.

Virgin Atlantic has recently completed a £150m upgrade program. A new Upper
Class cabin has been introduced across its Airbus A330 aircraft, which
features the longest fully flat bed in the sky. This is complemented by a
redesigned onboard bar and new Clubhouses at both JFK and Newark airports. The
airline's Boeing 747 leisure fleet has been completely refitted and features
onboard connectivity and VERA Touch – Virgin Atlantic's award-winning touch
screen in-flight entertainment system – offering passengers hours of
entertainment at their fingertips.

Corporate and travel agency customers of both airlines also will benefit from
an aligned sales effort on both sides of the Atlantic.

About Delta
Delta Air Lines serves more than 160 million customers each year. During the
past year, Delta was named domestic "Airline of the Year" by the readers of
Travel Weekly magazine, was named the "Top Tech-Friendly U.S. Airline" by
PCWorld magazine for its innovation in technology, won the Business Travel
News Annual Airline Survey and was the recipient of 12 Executive Travel
Magazine Leading Edge Awards for U.S. airlines. With an industry-leading
global network, Delta and the Delta Connection carriers offer service to
nearly 313 destinations in 58 countries on six continents. Headquartered in
Atlanta, Delta employs 80,000 employees worldwide and operates a mainline
fleet of more than 700 aircraft. A founding member of the SkyTeam global
alliance, Delta participates in the industry's leading trans-Atlantic joint
venture with Air France-KLM and Alitalia. Including its worldwide alliance
partners, Delta offers customers more than 13,000 daily flights, with hubs in
Amsterdam, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Detroit, Memphis, Minneapolis-St. Paul, New
York-LaGuardia, New York-JFK, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Salt Lake City and
Tokyo-Narita. The airline's service includes the SkyMiles frequent flier
program, a world-class airline loyalty program; the award-winning
BusinessElite service; and more than 50 Delta Sky Clubs in airports worldwide.
Delta is investing more than $3 billion through 2013 in airport facilities and
global products, services and technology to enhance the customer experience in
the air and on the ground. Customers can check in for flights, print boarding
passes, check bags and review flight status at delta.com.

About Virgin
Virgin Atlantic flies to 34 destinations worldwide, including locations across
North America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Far East and Australia. Some of its
most recent additions to its flying network include Cancun, Vancouver and
Mumbai.

Virgin Atlantic has enjoyed huge popularity, winning top business, consumer
and trade awards from around the world and was recently placed 8^th in the UK
Coolest Brands League. The airline has pioneered a range of innovations
setting new standards of service, which its competitors have subsequently
sought to follow. Despite Virgin Atlantic's growth the service still remains
customer driven with an emphasis on value for money, quality, fun and
innovation.

Virgin Atlantic currently has a fleet of aircraft which includes 747-400s,
A340-300s, A340-600s and A330-300s. The airline is expecting delivery of 16
Boeing 787 Dreamliners from 2014.

SOURCE Delta Air Lines

Website: http://www.delta.com
Contact: Delta Corporate Communications, +1-404-715-2554, news archive at
news.delta.com; or Virgin Atlantic Corporate Communications, +1-203-750-2570
 
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