Delta and LATAM have US DOT-approved joint venture plans

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Delta Air Lines and LATAM Airlines Group confirmed, this Friday (30), that the United States Department of Transportation has approved the joint venture of the two groups.

This is another major step in the development of a global partnership between the two airlines, which began in 2019, when Delta announced the purchase of a 20% stake in LATAM.

Over the following years, the two airlines integrated the establishment of codeshare agreements – which are already underway – and the integration of their frequent flyer programs.

Indeed, the announcement means both airlines have avenues open for regulators to develop their partnership even further, by openly coordinating schedules and sharing profits within the partnership. Delta says in a press release that “more details on the benefits of the partnership will be shared in the coming months.”

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Delta CEO Ed Bastian said in the press release that “Delta’s partnership with LATAM will help grow the market between North America and South America and provide important and much needed benefits to customers, and we applaud DOT for this final approval.”

His LATAM Airlines Group counterpart, Roberto Alvo, said in the same statement that “DOT approval will result in the start of work with Delta to provide more and better benefits to LATAM and Delta customers, such as faster, and the joint accumulation of miles in frequent flyer programs, among many others”.

Aviacionline understands from sources familiar with the matter that the next step for LATAM to further increase its connectivity, particularly in Brazil, will be to find a regional partner.

While GOL already has its ATR operating proxy, VoePass/Passaredo, the measure will be a direct attack on Azul’s cash cow – monopolistic destinations that can only be reached with smaller aircraft. LATAM’s smallest aircraft in its current fleet is the Airbus A319, which can carry 144 passengers. An ATR 72 can typically carry 70.

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