Delta Air Lines president Ed Bastian is confident that the carrier can extract far more value from its shareholding in Virgin Atlantic compared with the previous holder of the stake, Singapore Airlines.
Delta acquired the 49% stake from SIA in December last year and has immediately set about implementing a commercial tie-up that includes a transatlantic joint venture awaiting anti-trust approval. Speaking at the Aviation Club of the UK in London on 21 March, Bastian said the two airlines would leverage "the great ties" between the USA and the UK to maximise the opportunities that the partnership offers.
"There are 20 times the number of passengers that flow between the USA and [London] Heathrow than flow between Singapore and Heathrow," said Bastian.
"We have a great opportunity there. Now whether we are able to have more influence than SIA with our investment in Virgin Atlantic...all I know is that it is a great additional asset and marketing asset for the business. There is as much that we can learn from them as we can share back to Virgin Atlantic."