Virgin Atlantic to join SkyTeam, becoming first UK member airline 

Virgin Atlantic A330
Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic, in a not entirely anticipated move, will be joining the SkyTeam alliance on March 2, 2023.  

Although technically unaligned, Virgin Atlantic had already long counted Delta Airlines, a founder and one of the most prominent members of the SkyTeam alliance, as a major shareholder.  

The American carrier holds 49% of Virgin Atlantic’s shares, while the remaining 51% is in the hands of Richard Branson’s Virgin Group. 

Virgin Atlantic has also been part of a joint venture with Delta Airlines and Air France-KLM, another major component of the SkyTeam alliance, since 2019.  

The four carriers cooperated closely on a number of matters, such as code-sharing, frequent flyer programs and integrated bookings. Also, and very importantly, Virgin Atlantic provided valuable access to a large number of slots at highly valued, access-restricted London-Heathrow (LHR), which serves as the main base for the British airline. 

Virgin Atlantic and Delta had been working closely together in the lucrative North Atlantic for a very long time. Both carriers sought and obtained antitrust immunity from the US Department of Transportation back in 2013.  

Virgin Atlantic will also become the first SkyTeam member based in the UK. 

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