Delta acquired a 49% stake in Sir Richard Branson’s airline Virgin Atlantic – marking the next step towards a full joint venture between the two carriers. Virgin Atlantic will place its code on 91 Delta routes, including both trans-Atlantic and domestic U.S. routes. Delta will place its code on 17 Virgin Atlantic routes, including the recently launched Little Red domestic U.K. services connecting London to Manchester, Edinburgh and Aberdeen. The two airlines announced their intention to enter into a joint venture agreement in December 2012. Last week unconditional merger clearance was granted by the European Commission and the U.S Department of Justice closed their review of the transaction. As of June 24th, Delta has successfully completed its acquisition of a 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic. The U.S Department of Transportation is currently reviewing the parties’ application for antitrust immunity relating to the proposed joint venture of the parties’ operations on nonstop routes between the US and the UK. This review is expected to be completed during third quarter of 2013, and the implementation of the Delta/Virgin Atlantic joint venture is anticipated to occur in the first quarter of 2014. Once implemented, this will deliver further significant additional consumer benefits and vibrant competition to the trans-Atlantic market.