Delta Air Lines has just caused a major upset in the order of the three major global airline alliances.
Delta is to acquire a 20% stake in LATAM Airlines Group and form a new strategic partnership with the airline. LATAM is currently a member of the Oneworld alliance and LATAM is expected to leave Oneworld. However, there are no plans for LATAM to join Skyteam.
LATAM, which was formed from the merger of LAN and former Star Alliance member TAM Airlines, had been seeking to secure two immunised joint-ventures with American Airlines and British Airways and Iberia. However, these have stalled due to objections from regulators in Chile. These joint-ventures are now off the table.
Delta of course owns a 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic, which is to launch Heathrow – Sao Paulo next year. LATAM currently flies from London Heathrow to Sao Paulo, which is also codeshared with BA. It seems inevitable that this will be replaced with a new codeshare with Virgin Atlantic. It may also help Virgin launch more routes to Latin America.
As part of the transaction Delta will acquire four Airbus A350 aircraft from LATAM. Delta has also agreed to take on LATAM’s commitment to purchase 10 additional A350 aircraft to be delivered from 2020 to 2025. Full details of the transaction are available from Delta.
It is no exaggeration to say this is a significant blow for Oneworld, particularly American Airlines, Iberia and, to a lesser extent, BA. It was a coup for Oneworld to beat Star Alliance to secure membership of the combined airline five years ago, and this is a signifiant loss.Continue reading “Delta To Acquire 20% of LATAM Airlines”