December 10, 2012 / 7:53 AM / 5 years ago

Virgin and Delta to agree JV on transatlantic routes-source

LONDON, Dec 10 (Reuters) - Virgin Atlantic and Delta Air Lines will agree a partnership on transatlantic flights once the U.S. carrier seals a deal to buy Singapore Airlines' 49 percent stake in the British airline, a source close to the UK carrier said.

The source said Virgin founder Richard Branson was not immediately looking to sell any of his 51 percent stake in the airline and that he was "concentrating on working with Delta" if the U.S. group successfully buys Singapore's stake.

Virgin and Delta plan to set up a revenue sharing deal on flights between Britain and the U.S. which would involve a code-share agreement, allowing both to sell flights on the other airline and share revenues from ticket sales, the source said.

The partnership would be similar to that operated by IAG's British Airways and American Airlines on transatlantic routes.

Weekend press reports said Air France-KLM, which also has a partnership with Delta on some transatlantic routes, was in talks to buy part of Branson's stake - a deal which would give Delta and Air France-KLM control over Virgin Atlantic.

However, Branson is unlikely to sell down his stake in the near future, the source added.

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