Delta Air Lines (DL, Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson) and LATAM Airlines Group and its affiliates have signed a trans-American Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) that will combine the carriers’ complementary route networks between North and South America. The agreement is still subject to the relevant government approvals.

“Late last year, we set out to build the leading strategic alliance in Latin America together with LATAM, and while the industry landscape has changed, our commitment to this joint venture is as strong as ever,” said Delta Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ed Bastian. “Even as our carriers contend with the impact of COVID-19 on our business and take steps to protect the safety of our customers and employees, we are also building the airline alliance we know they’ll want to fly in the future.”

“While we remain focused on navigating the COVID-19 crisis and protecting the safety and well-being of our passengers and employees, we also have to look to the future to ensure the best possible customer experience and support the long-term sustainability of the group,” said Roberto Alvo, CEO, LATAM Airlines Group. “Our bilateral strategic alliance with Delta remains a priority and we firmly believe that it still promises to offer customers the leading travel experience and connectivity in the Americas.”

Since September 2019, the two carriers have achieved various milestones in their agreement including:

  • Codeshare agreements between Delta and LATAM’s affiliates in Peru (LATAM Airlines Perú), Ecuador (LATAM Airlines Ecuador), Colombia (LATAM Airlines Colombia) and Brazil (LATAM Airlines Brasil) which will be expanded to cover long-haul flights between the US/Canada and South America, as well as regional flights. Codeshare agreements with LATAM's affiliates in Chile (LATAM Airlines) and Argentina (LATAM Airlines Argentina) will be signed in the coming weeks;
  • Frequent flyer benefits, with members able to 'earn and burn' miles with the other carrier. Reciprocal top tier loyalty recognition is expected to be available during June 2020;
  • Smoother connections at hub airports, like at New York JFK and Sao Paulo Guarulhos, where the two airlines are co-located;
  • Mutual lounge access at JFK and in Bogotá. Expanded reciprocal lounge access at airports throughout the Americas is planned for June 2020.

Sparked by the Delta/LATAM JV, the Americas region is undergoing a period of change in terms of business relationships, with LATAM bringing forward its departure from Oneworld to May 1, 2020, having originally agreed to leave the alliance on October 1, 2020. Delta's former partner in Brazil, GOL Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes (G3, Sao Paulo Congonhas), announced a codeshare agreement with American Airlines (AA, Dallas/Fort Worth) in February, which is still subject to regulatory approval.