The joint venture (JV) between Delta Air Lines and LATAM Airlines Group has received final permission from the US Department of Transportation (DOT), allowing the carriers to provide a vast network across the Americas.
The approval, the airlines said in a joint statement, “enables Delta and LATAM Airlines Group, LATAM Airlines Brasil, LATAM Airlines Colombia, LATAM Airlines Peru and LATAM Airlines Paraguay to begin the work of unlocking new customer and cargo benefits—including enhanced service and expanded route offerings—that will add to the codeshare routes and reciprocal loyalty benefits already in place.” The airlines added that specifics about the partnership would be revealed later.
2019 saw SkyTeam member Delta purchase a 20% investment in LATAM. The airlines applied to the appropriate regulatory bodies to run a metal-neutral, antitrust-immunized JV for flights between the US and South America.
The JV received provisional certification from the DOT in June. Brazilian, Chilean, Colombian, Peruvian, and Uruguayan competition regulators have already permitted the proposed cooperation. According to the carriers, the arrangement would add new or increased service on at least 18 nonstop routes and span almost 7,000 city-pair markets.
Delta CEO Ed Bastian said, “We applaud the DOT for this final clearance. Delta’s cooperation with LATAM will help grow the market between North and South America and bring significant and much-needed benefits for consumers.
“The clearance by the DOT will start the work with Delta to bring more and better benefits to LATAM and Delta customers, such as speedier connections and the combined accumulation of miles in frequent flyer programmes, among many other things,” LATAM CEO Roberto Alvo continued. We will eventually be able to provide the best connections while incorporating a sustainable view of the future. I’m confident of it.
The airlines pointed out that they already use the same terminals in Santiago, Chile. So Paulo, Brazil, and New York Kennedy (JFK), USA.
Currently, the airlines are codesharing on 20 routes between the US and South America, in addition to more routes on the US and South American networks of Delta and LATAM. LATAM had previously tried to form a joint venture with American Airlines, a member of Oneworld, but the negotiations stalled in 2019, and LATAM left the alliance. It is still not a part of a universal coalition.