Branson retains control of airline after Delta Air Lines deal

Richard Branson retained control of his airline Virgin Atlantic today after a deal that will see America’s largest carrier take a 49% stake.

In the $360m (€278.7m) deal, Delta Air Lines has bought the holding of Singapore Airlines, but with Virgin retaining the brand name and operating certificate.

There has been speculation in recent weeks that Delta’s European partner Air France-KLM may buy part of Branson’s 51% stake, leaving the entrepreneur without majority control of the airline.

Branson said the airline would retain its “independent spirit”.

He said: “It signals the start of an era of expansion, financial growth and many opportunities for our customers and our business.”

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