Lawyers from Herbert Smith Freehills have helped Virgin Group and Virgin Atlantic complete a transatlantic joint venture with Air France-KLM and Delta Air Lines, first announced in July 2017.

The final deal, signed on 15 May, will allow the three airlines to offer a “comprehensive route network, convenient flight schedules, competitive fares and reciprocal frequent flyer benefits” for customers travelling across the Atlantic.

Customers will also benefit from the co-location of facilities at hub airports to improve connectivity and access to each carrier’s airport lounges for premium passengers, the airlines said.

Upon completion of the deal, Air France-KLM will acquire a 31% per cent stake in Virgin Atlantic worth £220 million and currently held by Virgin Group, which will retain a 20% stake and chairmanship of Virgin Atlantic. The signed agreements are all subject to regulatory approvals which the three airlines will now coordinate efforts to secure.

Virgin Atlantic was advised by Herbert Smith corporate partner Robert Moore, senior associate Michael Compton and associate Emily Tang.

Competition, regulation and trade partner Kim Dietzel, counsel Suzy Campbell, and associates Philip Aitken and Jade van Parijs provided Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Group with advice on regulation and approval requirements, such as merger clearance and the potential impacts of Brexit.

Corporate partner and London head of corporate Ben Ward, senior associate Siddhartha Shukla and associate Laura Stuckey advised Virgin Group on the share sale.

"We have been delighted to work with Virgin Group and Virgin Atlantic on this transaction," Ward said in a statement. "Virgin Group and Virgin Atlantic have a long history of innovation in the aviation industry, and we've been proud to assist them to bring this complex and innovative transaction successfully to signing."