ATLANTA and SYDNEY – Delta Air Lines and Virgin Australia Airlines today announced two major milestones of their recently approved joint venture: an expanded codesharing agreement on flights between the United States and Australia, and an enhanced customer experience in Los Angeles.
Codeshare service will be available for sale beginning Sept. 19, 2011, for travel effective Nov. 6, 2011. Under the agreement, Delta will add its code to all flights between Los Angeles and the Australian cities Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, operated by V Australia, Virgin Australia’s long-haul international carrier. V Australia will add its code to Delta’s service between Los Angeles and Sydney.
For customers, the expanded codesharing means more options when booking trans-Pacific travel on Delta or V Australia, as well as benefits such as accrual of frequent flier miles and premium lounge access regardless of which airline operates the flight.
To further improve the customer experience, from November, flights operated by V Australia will arrive at Delta’s Terminal 5 at Los Angeles International Airport. This will allow for easier and faster connections within the same terminal to the rest of Delta’s network, as well as access to new customs and immigration facilities in Terminal 5.
“The start of trans-Pacific codesharing and arrival co-location at T5 in Los Angeles mark the first major steps toward establishing our joint venture, which will provide significant benefits for our customers,” said Charlie Pappas, Delta’s vice president – Alliances. “Together, Delta and Virgin Australia will offer a leading network and a superior travel experience for our customers flying between the U.S. and Australia.”
Virgin Australia Group Executive, Merren McArthur said: “Since receiving U.S. government approval in June, Delta and Virgin Australia have moved quickly to deliver the consumer benefits that are enabled by our joint venture. The joint venture will allow us to offer more choice and a more seamless travel experience from November, providing guests with three trans-Pacific services per day and allowing us to spread our respective departure times out of Sydney to improve connections.
“The next milestone will be the expansion of the existing domestic codeshare on each airline’s domestic network, further improving connectivity of our services and giving Virgin Australia guests access to 250 destinations across the United States, Canada and Mexico,” Ms McArthur said.
Following the U.S. Department of Transportation’s approval of antitrust immunity for Delta and Virgin Australia on trans-Pacific flights in June, the two airlines have been working closely on expanding codesharing, coordinating products and services and extending frequent flyer program benefits and lounge access to customers of both carriers. The joint venture will create a comprehensive, fully integrated network able to serve thousands of city-pairs in North America and the South Pacific, providing numerous destinations which otherwise would not be accessible to customers.
The trans-Pacific codesharing agreement is the latest expansion of the partnership between the two airlines. In May, Delta and Virgin Australia announced an enhanced codeshare that added Delta’s code to Virgin Australia flights to five destinations in Australia, and added Virgin Australia’s code on Delta service to four new cities in the United States.