Jun 11, 2011

Virgin Australia and Delta Air Lines joint venture welcomed

Virgin Australia and Delta Air Lines joint venture welcomed

The Hon Anthony Albanese MP

Minister for Infrastructure & Transport

Leader of the House

Member for Grayndler

11 June 2011

The Gillard Labor Government welcomes the United States Department of Transportation approval of the joint venture between Virgin Australia and the world’s largest airline, Delta Air Lines.

The alliance is good news for Australian travellers looking for lower prices on Australia-US flights.

The approval comes in the same week that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission granted interim authorisation to a joint agreement between Qantas and American Airlines for more coordinated services on the Pacific route.

The Virgin Australia and Delta alliance will give Australian travellers seamless access to the more than 240 destinations within the US that Delta flies to at present.

Similarly it will give US passengers access to more than 30 destinations in Australia.

The approval of this joint venture is a boost for our tourism industry because it will make it easier for both airlines to market and sell tickets to Australian destinations.

It will allow Virgin Australia and Delta to co-ordinate fares, schedules and marketing across the Pacific.

The ACCC approved the Joint Venture in 2009, and Virgin Australia and Delta Air Lines were waiting for approval from the US regulator.

The United States is currently Australia’s second largest aviation market with more than two million passengers travelling between the two countries every year.

The Gillard Labor Government has supported this joint venture strongly as part of our commitment outlined in the National Aviation White Paper to increase competition for Australian passengers on the trans-Pacific route.

The joint venture has only been made possible because both nations agreed to free up capacity for our airlines to determine when and where they fly, building on the Australia-US open skies agreement that this Government finalised in 2008.