Delta – Virgin Blue Antitrust Immunity

On June 10, 2011, the US Department of Transportation (DOT) approved the application of Delta Air Lines and affiliates of the Virgin Blue Group for antitrust immunity which will allow the applicants to form an alliance and coordinate flights between the United States and Australia. As part of Delta’s response to an adverse September 2010 decision, Delta retained Compass Lexecon to assess the consumer benefits that are likely to arise from the joint venture. Professor Robert Willig, Mark Israel, Bryan Keating, and Jonathan Orszag, supported by Jeff Raileanu in Compass Lexecon’s Washington DC office, filed two reports with the DOT that made use of sophisticated econometric modeling to demonstrate the substantial benefits that the joint venture will generate. The DOT recognized the substantial public benefits in granting approval. In its press release announcing the approval, Delta highlighted the benefits estimated by Compass Lexecon.