Virgin Atlantic officially joined SkyTeam, one of three airline alliances in the world, on March 2, 2023.
The carrier, which flies out of the United Kingdom’s (UK) London Heathrow Airport (LHR) and Manchester Airport (MAN), will become the first UK-based operator in SkyTeam. Virgin Atlantic has been a founding partner of a joint venture (JV) between Delta Air Lines, KLM, and itself. The JV launched in February 2020 and covered trans-Atlantic routes.
Delta Air Lines holds 49% of shares in the British carrier, while the remaining 51% is held by Virgin Group, a conglomerate founded by Richard Branson and Nik Powell.
“SkyTeam shares a customer first ethos that mirrors our own and our entry into the alliance today marks an important milestone in achieving our vision to become the most-loved travel company,” commented Shai Weiss, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Virgin Atlantic. According to Weiss, the carrier’s loyalty program members “deserve the very best,” and the SkyTeam membership “offers this through a global network of maximized reward opportunities, alongside enhanced services on the ground and in the skies.”
Meanwhile, Patrick Roux, the CEO of SkyTeam, added that “the UK is a key market for SkyTeam and with Virgin Atlantic on board, customers can look forward to more opportunities to earn and redeem miles as they fly, enjoying the iconic travel experience that makes our newest member a globally loved airline.”
READ MORE: Virgin Atlantic to join SkyTeam, becoming first UK member airline
Currently, Virgin Atlantic has codeshare agreements with Aeromexico, Lebanon-based Middle East Airlines, the Air France-KLM group, and Delta Air Lines. More codeshare options are set to follow “later this year”, while “interline agreements with all SkyTeam members are already in place, providing one touch point for all customers, creating a seamless journey on one ticket”.
It is expected that Virgin Atlantic will begin codesharing with Korean Air, which is looking to gain the approval of several competition authorities for its merger with fellow South Korean airline, Asiana Airlines. The UK’s Competition Marketing Authority (CMA) approved the merger once Korean Air agreed to give slots at Seoul Incheon International Airport (ICN) and LHR to Virgin Atlantic to operate daily flights between the two, as well as enter into a unilateral codeshare agreement on the route. Additional agreements cover cargo, the frequent flyer program, lounge access, and ground handling services either on the route or at ICN.