Virgin Blue seeks Pacific Blue, Delta code share

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Australia's Virgin Blue Group has submitted an application to Australia's International Air Services Commission for a code share deal between its Pacific Blue Airlines unit and Delta Air Lines.

"As part of the proposed joint venture between Pacific Blue and Delta, it is intended that Delta will offer code share services as a marketing carrier on routes operated in both directions by Pacific Blue between points in Australia and Auckland & Christchurch," says Virgin Blue in a letter to the IASC.

A joint venture between Delta and the Virgin Blue Group carriers was initially proposed in July 2009. It aims to include Delta, Virgin Blue, V Australia, and Pacific Blue. Polynesian Blue is not part of the proposed arrangement.

The joint venture received approval from Australian regulators in December 2009, but US regulators rejected the deal in September.

In its letter Virgin Blue notes that the US Department of Transportation (DOT) "has yet to approve" the joint venture.

"Notwithstanding this, we are seeking to progress the preliminary regulatory matters in relation to this proposed code share, as the interim order of the DOT indicates that evidence of this will be taken into account in its final assessment of our JV application."

At Delta's recent investor day, company executives explained that the carrier's response to the US Department of Transportation (DOT) has been well received, and it is a matter of ironing out a few final details "to their satisfaction".

Delta management said in mid December that it hopes for "a positive announcement in the next 60 days or so", regarding its anti-trust application with the Virgin Blue group.