This year's Farnborough Airshow, which starts on Monday, is shaping up to be one of the most controversial for many years.
The two airlines plan for their new partnership to take off on March 30th 2014, combining slots at Heathrow.
Virgin Atlantic has had a tough year, with rising fuel costs and increased competition from rivals. It recently reported losses of £80m.
The Davies report into the future of aviation in the South highlights that airport expansion is desperately needed in the south east - but few people want a new runway in their backyard. While growth could create more jobs, it would also bring more aircraft noise and pollution.
Gatwick Airport still has a lot of spare capacity. But, is a new runway even necessary? Our correspondent Malcolm Shaw has been looking at the arguments.
Natalie Bennett, the Leader of the Green Party, tells ITV Meridian that there is no need for any airport development in the south east. And she repeats her party's belief that an estuary airport option is the worst of all possible worlds. She's been talking to our reporter Kevin Harrison.
Sir Roger Gale MP tells Meridian that for every passing day of "dither and delay" the UK is losing out to the European mainland - and that Manston has a role to play - at least in the short term.
The consultation is available online at here . The postcode search facility and clickable maps with consultation areas clearly marked makes it easy to see which proposed changes have the most relevance to a specificlocation. Feedback can be given directly on the website.
Juliet Kennedy, NATS’ Operations Director, Swanwick, Hampshire said: “The airspace change programme is essential if we are to contribute to and ensure the success of the UK’s Future Airspace Strategy (FAS).”
Tom Denton, Head of Corporate Responsibility at London Gatwick, West Sussex, said: “Gatwick is committed to leading the way in terms of airspace innovation and operation, which is why we were so keen to be the first major UK airport to work with NATS to fully review and consult on our airspace.
“Gatwick’s noise impacts are already well mitigated and significantly lower than at other major airports. However, the airport continues to look at ways to further reduce the number of people affected by aircraft noise in line with Government policy.
“This project gives us an opportunity to further reduce the number of people affected by noise, as well as focus on further reducing Co2 emissions and air quality impacts."
At Gatwick the move could allow for planes to take off every minute of less according to information revealed today.
The changes will affect every airport in our region by 2020 but today consultation was launched at Gatwick, London City and Southend.
Proposed by National Air Traffic Services (NATS) and Gatwick Airport it lasts for 14 weeks and they want to hear from people about where the new routes should go and areas that should be avoided. After that the new specific routes will be developed and published next summer.
Under the plans stacking areas, where planes circle waiting to land, when there are delays will be moved from Kent and Sussex to the sea south of Brighton and to the Essex or Kent Coast.
New technology will by used to allow planes to fly higher for longer again reducing noise below.
While many could see fewer planes flying over them others could see more and that will prove highly controversial.
The move will lead to the current flight path map being ripped up and redrawn and should also see delays cut, less fuel burnt and emissions reduced.
It is part of a new directive from Europe to simplify and make airspace more efficient and cope with increasing demand. It is not connected with the current review of runways by Sir Howard Davies.
But the move could allow for half a million more planes over the south east a year in a thirty year period. That is the Government forecast to allow for passenger growth.
Some flight paths could be altered or moved altogether. At the moment flight paths are over a wide area.
Using new technology there could be more accurate routes with increased numbers of flights concentrated on them. That means fewer planes flying over a wider area and more on the new routes.
A new report today claims more than 200,000 jobs in the Thames Valley will be lost if Heathrow is forced to close.
It examined the economic impact along the M3 and M4 from Heathrow to Basingstoke, Guildford, Newbury and Oxford and concluded that one in 20 jobs in the region were in some way linked to Heathrow. London Mayor Boris Johnson says Heathrow should close with a new airport built in the Thames Estuary.
The research was carried out by Regeneris, an economic consultancy, and was paid for by local enterprise partnerships including Buckinghamshire Thames Valley, Enterprise M3, Oxfordshire and Thames Valley Berkshire. The Government is consulting on where new runways should be built in the region.
Video. The flight was two minutes early...the plane was more than three years late. The first of a new generation of aircraft finally took off from Gatwick today - after delays caused by technical faults and safety scares. Our Transport Correspondent Mike Pearse reports.