Delta Air Lines Inc. has a special interest in the trajectory of the British economy. Over the last two years, it has intensified its presence in London, gaining access to coveted landing slots through a 49 percent stake in Virgin Atlantic, which now flies to Atlanta.
None of that is set to change as a result of the United Kingdom’s historic vote Thursday to leave the European Union, Delta said in a statement. It’s “business as usual” until the picture for the trans-Atlantic economy is a bit clearer:
It is too early to say what the results of the vote mean for aviation in the U.K., one of the world’s leading air markets, in the long term. It’s business as usual for the foreseeable future for Delta’s flights between the U.S. and Britain. Delta remains committed to the U.K. market.
The United Kingdom since 2013 has been debating how best to handle upgrades to its aviation infrastructure, a conversation that served as a proxy for discussions about the economic disparity between London and the rest of the country. London was one of few regions that voted solidly to remain in the European Union, while most areas across England voted “Leave.” An aviation commission set up to study the options recommended a third runway be built at Heathrow Airport to accommodate increasing demand, but the fallout from the U.K.’s departure from the EU is far from certain.
British voters ignored warnings that a Brexit risked triggering a downturn in an already fragile European economy that could send ripple effects across the globe. The pound dove 10 percent against the dollar Thursday and markets reeled as the news spread Friday morning.