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GOL announced recently a major investment in the company by US carrier Delta Airlines, which will own a 3% stake in the Brazilian carrier.

The move is part of Delta’s effort to increase its share of the fast growing South American market, dominated by Brazil’s TAM, GOL, and Chile’s LAN.

While GOL will not join the Skyteam, the move will certainly prevent it from joining another alliance, and allow GOL to sell seats on Delta’s flights to the highly demanded American destinations, and Delta to sell seats on GOL flights throughout South America.

GOL currently has a code share agreement with American Airlines slated to expire in mid 2012, and unlikely to be renewed since Delta insists on being the exclusive partner of GOL.

That will put American Airlines on a very difficult position in South America, since TAM, the other major carrier is a Star Alliance member. American is likely to be negotiating with the newly formed LATAM group (merger of Brazil’s TAM and Chile’s LAN groups), since LAN is a longtime Oneworld member.