Delta-Virgin Blue alliance gets thumbs down
Delta Air Lines and the Virgin Blue Group won't be able to closely coordinate their international operations after the U.S. Department of Transportation on Wednesday tentatively denied their request for antitrust immunity on joint U.S./Australia service.
Virgin Blue Group includes V Australia, Virgin Blue and Pacific Blue Airlines. Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group, which operates Virgin Atlantic and other companies, owns a quarter of the company.
The DOT said Delta and Virgin Blue had not demonstrated sufficient public benefit to justify the grant of antitrust immunity. The department noted that Delta and Virgin have only recently entered the U.S./Australia market, do not have well-developed joint operating plans, have limited their cooperation to a handful of routes and failed to show that their alliance would lower fares or increase capacity for consumers.
Interested parties have 14 days to file any objections before a final decision is rendered.