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U.S. grants final approval for expanded Delta, Air France, Virgin, KLM JV

A Delta Air Lines flight is pushed put of its gate at the airport in Salt Lake City

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao on Thursday granted final approval for an expanded trans-Atlantic joint venture for Delta Air Lines Inc <DAL.N>, Air France KLM SA <AIRF.PA> and Virgin Atlantic.

Reuters first reported Chao's planned tentative approval of the agreement in August. The expanded joint venture replaces two previously approved arrangements in the U.S.-United Kingdom and U.S.-Continental Europe markets and will allow for additional benefits such as more options on European flights, Chao said in a statement.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; editing by Jonathan Oatis)