Virgin Australia given interim approval for deeper partnership with Virgin Atlantic on UK flights

Manchester Airport, United Kingdom - January 8, 2018: Virgin Atlantic Airways Boeing 747-41R MSN 28757 L/N 1117 G-VAST Ladybird moments after touchdown.

The ACCC has given interim authorisation for Virgin Australia to increase cooperation with Virgin Atlantic on flights between Australia and the UK.

The strengthened partnership between the two airlines will include flights between Australia and the United Kingdom/Ireland, via Hong Kong, Los Angeles and any other future mutual connecting points.

While the two airlines are separate businesses, they already have a codeshare arrangement which allows them to market flights on planes flown by the other.

Under the new arrangement, the two airlines would be allowed to coordinate on a wide range of matters such as jointly managing prices, inventory and marketing strategies, which would not currently be permitted in their existing arm’s length commercial codeshare and loyalty arrangements.

Virgin Australia and Virgin Atlantic do not currently operate flights on any of the relevant routes.

“We do not think this enhanced cooperation is likely to lessen competition on the routes between Australia and the British Isles,” ACCC commissioner Sarah Court said.

Interim authorisation will remain in effect while the ACCC considers the application for authorisation in more detail, with a draft determination, which will be open for public comment, expected by early September.

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