Air France-KLM strengthens its strategic partnerships.

Air France-KLM today announces a further major step in the reinforcement of its strategic partnerships with, firstly, the creation of a single global joint-venture between Air France-KLM, Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic and, secondly, the strengthening of its partnership with China Eastern Airlines These two commercial alliances will be strengthened by capital links:

  • Air France-KLM will acquire Virgin Group’s 31% stake in Virgin Atlantic for £220 million.
  • Delta and China Eastern will each acquire a 10% stake in Air France-KLM within the framework of reserved capital increases totalling €751 million.

The strategic, commercial and equity investment of these partnerships will position Air France-KLM as the European pillar of the leading global airline network.

All of these agreements will enable Air France-KLM to offer its customers an expanded network and to capitalize on the pooling of extensive distribution networks. As an integral part of the Trust Together strategic project, these partnerships will support the Group’s profitable growth and enable Air France-KLM to offer its customers an unparalleled proposition. 

At the heart of the most global partnership in the airline industry

The combination of the existing joint ventures between firstly Air France-KLM, Delta and Alitalia, and secondly between Delta and Virgin Atlantic, within a single joint-venture marks the expansion and reinforcement of one of the most advanced partnership models in the airline industry. This joint venture will enable the Group* to:

  • Offer customers an unrivaled proposition on transatlantic routes.
  • Drive the capacity growth of the partners.
  • Create an associate partner status enabling the inclusion of other players.
  • Extend a partnership over a 15-year period.
  • Generate significant annual synergies thanks to a new code share to/from London, sales coordination, the extended partnership and cost savings.

The creation of this joint-venture will thus consolidate Air France-KLM’s leadership position in the North-American and European markets with the largest airline network articulated around twelve powerful hubs on both sides of the Atlantic: Amsterdam, Atlanta, Boston, Cincinnati, Detroit, Los Angeles, London Heathrow, Minneapolis-St Paul, New York-JFK, Paris-CDG, Salt Lake City and Seattle. 

A strengthened partnership with China Eastern

In parallel, Air France-KLM and China Eastern will step up their commercial cooperation and reinforce their partnership within the framework of the existing joint venture, to:

  • Secure and reinforce Air France-KLM’s presence in the Chinese market thanks to a long-term partnership.
  • Give Air France-KLM a European leadership position on Shanghai, the main business market in China.
  • Improve the services for our customers.
  • Enable increased cooperation in terms of the network, pricing and operational synergies.

These capital increases will enable an improvement in Air France-KLM’s financial structure, accelerate the reduction in its net debt and finance the purchase of the stake in Virgin Atlantic.

*Subject to the signing of the final agreements and the approval of the relevant regulatory authorities.

Planned calendar for the transaction:

  • 4th September 2017: Extraordinary Shareholders’ Meeting to approve the capital increases and the appointment of the new members of the Board of Directors (to take place on closure of the reserved capital increases)
  • Once the regulatory approvals are obtained: Realization of the reserved capital increases.


Read Delta’s press release:
Read Virgin Atlantic’s press release: