The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has issued a draft determination clearing Virgin Australia (VA, Brisbane Int'l) to partner with Virgin Atlantic (VS, London Heathrow) on flights between Australia and United Kingdom and Ireland, via Hong Kong Int'l, Los Angeles Int'l and potentially more points, the ACCC said in a press release.

"In authorising this cooperation, we expect to see improvements to the carriers’ schedules and services to passengers," ACCC Commissioner Stephen Ridgeway said.

The determination, once confirmed, will allow the two Virgin-branded carriers to jointly manage prices, inventory, and marketing strategies.

Meanwhile, Virgin Australia also announced in a stockmarket filing that it is negotiating a full takeover of the Velocity frequent flyer programme from Hong Kong-based Affinity Equity Partners. Affinity currently owns a 35% stake but said in July 2019 that it was exploring options to sell its shares.

"The Group confirms it has entered into a term sheet with Affinity to buy back its 35% minority investment for AUD700 million dollars (USD480 million)," Virgin Australia said.

The carrier underlined that the completion of the transaction is still subject to conditions, such as securing funding and receiving a clearance from the Foreign Investment Review Board. If the conditions are met, Virgin Australia expects the acquisition to be completed by the end of 2019.

The carrier already owns the remaining 65% stake in the programme. Affinity bought its stake from Virgin in 2014 for AUD335 million (USD235 million).