EU Commission clears Delta to buy stake in Virgin Atlantic

BRUSSELS Thu Jun 20, 2013 9:34am EDT

Aircraft models are seen following a news conference to announce the sale of Virgin Atlantic airline to Delta Air Lines, in New York December 11, 2012. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Aircraft models are seen following a news conference to announce the sale of Virgin Atlantic airline to Delta Air Lines, in New York December 11, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Brendan McDermid

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission has cleared Delta Air Lines (DAL.N) to buy a 49 percent stake in British airline Virgin Atlantic VA.UL, the European Union's competition watchdog said on Thursday.

The Commission said it was not concerned about the transaction because the companies would continue to face competition, especially from British Airways (ICAG.L) and American Airlines.

Delta announced the purchase in December, saying the move would allow the U.S. carrier to expand its access to London's Heathrow Airport.

Reuters reported on June 10 that Delta would receive unconditional clearance for the purchase.

(Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek)

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