1. In July, VA announced they wanted to become the UK's second Flag carrier, rivalling British Airways for capacity and status
https://simpleflying.com/virgin-atlanti ... ow-growth/
2. That was following VA's April declaration to the British authorities to get a sizable share of the new slots once LHR's 3rd runway is built, scheduled for 2026 if all goes well, a signal announcement that threatens BA's market share & monopolistic price-making ( i.e. they do influence the market ), fact is BA is opposed to the 3rd runway to protect their current position.
3. A few weeks ago, DL & VA announced massive transatlantic expansion :
- DL opening routes from BOS to both Gatwick & Manchester,
- VA opening Gatwick-JFK
- Both increasing frequencies on existing routes, some 15% in 2020.
For a detailed account, read https://onemileatatime.com/delta-virgin ... expansion/
4. DL not only bought SQ's 49% share in VA, it now has a JV with VA which makes it VA's strategic decision-maker, as it controls the mighty US market VA flights get to.
5. AF-KLM, also DL's best Skyteam buddy after KE, is not only joining that JV, but also buying 31% of VA, meaning AF is strategically investing into LHR via VA. And because everyone is in bed with one another, DL has 10% of AF-KLM.
6. So Skyteam now controls 80% of VA, which seems to be legally possible with a JV, but then I don't know what British law says or will say if Brexit happens. EU Law limits foreign participation to 49% ( US only 25%, so less free market ), but individual % is only one criteria, a combined 80% is a takeover by any metric.
7. Considering furthermore how LHR is important to the transtlantic market, it stands to reason that DL & AF-KLM want to dent into AA/BA virtual FSC monopoly, it's not one in terms of actors, but it is one in terms of the huge lion share AA/BA have in terms of market share & profit % overall.
8. Months ago, VA announced massive expansion too to Spanish America ( specially Mexico & Brazil ), a trendy move by UK-based airlines, following IAG's own lion share, which in itself is odd considering VA is not known in that part of the world nor did they have a public flying there yet
9. DL bought 49% of AeroMexico, not only adapting their flights into the US, but also maximizing feeds to DL's hubs, ATL & others : more pax transit via DL between LHR & Mexico, how much I don't know butpoint is that Skyteam, through DL, AF-KLM & AM, are increasing their presence into LHR at great speed, in addition to the new flights from BOS & JKF into Gatwick mentionned above.
10. DL has shown, both industry & network wide, they are seriously ramping up in every direction, e.g. :
- SEA & BOS have become two new hubs, in addition to ATL & JFK
- while dehubbing from NRT, their investment in KE & ICN is mighty
- they also paid $450 million for 3.55% minority stake in China Eastern Airlines with hub in Shanghai, China's economic powerhouse slated to take over HK
- new frame models, a hundred A220s after ordering A350s, while flogging aging models
- Delta One is industry leading in the US, Y service way better than AA's
so I was wondering what was next until :
11. Today, VA announces 84 new routes in years time, worldwide, many into the EU to serve as feeds to their LH plans, all subject to the 3rd runways, so it is years before any of that materializes, if at all. But they have confirmed they want the 3rd runway & want to defy BA's virtual monopoly :
Virgin Atlantic wants to add 84 new destinations in the UK, Europe, and across the globe, in addition to their current 19 long haul destinations.
12 would be domestic, including to Belfast, Glasgow, and Manchester
37 would be European, including to Barcelona, Dublin, and Madrid
35 would be global, including to Buenos Aires, Jakarta, and Kunming
For all the details, maps & charts, see https://onemileatatime.com/virgin-atlan ... wth-plans/
So I have 4 questions :
1. Are any of the points above wrong ?
2. What other elements could you add pointing to the title ?
3. Does anyone know if AF-KLM is buying shares in DL anytime soon ? After all, DL has 10%, investing in key airlines just like QR is with key OW partners.
4. What are the odds that with a 80% Skyteam share, VA does not actually join Skyteam in coming years ?