Delta Air Lines has confirmed it is to take a 49% stake in Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic.

The $360 million deal will see Delta buy Singapore Airlines stake.

The two airlines will operate 31 peak day transatlantic flights, with nine round trip flights on the key London to New York route every day.

As well as sharing costs and revenues from all joint venture flights the deal will see Virgin and Delta share airport lounges and frequent flier points.

The deal has sparked a war of words between Sir Richard and BA Chief Executive Willie Walsh who has spoken out predicting that the deal would result in the Virgin brand not existing in five years.

Sir Richard hit back earlier this week offering Walsh £1 million if the company was still around in five years. Walsh has since come back with a more lighthearted suggestion.

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