Air France has taken a big piece of Britain’s second-biggest long-haul airline, Virgin Atlantic.
According to The Independent, the French airline, which also owns KLM of the Netherlands, is to buy a 31 per cent stake in Virgin Atlantic for 220m GBP.
It leaves the Virgin Group with just one-fifth of the airline’s equity. Delta will keep a 49 percent stake in Virgin Atlantic.
The airline founded by Sir Richard Branson in 1984 will retain its identity and independence as a British carrier with a UK operating certificate.
Talking about the deal, Sir Richard said, “This is a fantastic opportunity to extend our network and create a stronger customer champion, as well as being extremely beneficial to our people and the Virgin Atlantic brand that our customers love dearly.”
The Virgin Atlantic president also wrote a letter to his staff, which read, “We’ve had to endure a consistently uneven playing field with British Airways keeping a stranglehold on Heathrow slots, enabling it to feed its long-haul operation from a myriad of short-haul flights across the UK and Europe.”
Adding, “And now we have Brexit, which before it’s even happened, has had a negative effect on the financial performance of both our holiday company and the airline, principally due to the collapse in the value of the pound.”