American Airlines And JetSMART Want To Create A Trans-Americas Mega Network

American Airlines is eying a major expansion in the South American market. In a new plan, the carrier will purchase a minority stake in low-cost Chilean carrier JetSMART and greatly expand offerings across the continents. The deal will allow passengers on both carriers to seamlessly travel the Americas, leveraging their respective networks. Let’s find out more.

American 777
American already serves 17 destinations in South America and is looking to extend that further. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Big move

In a statement today, American announced that it will grow its presence in the South American market through a new partner. The full-service airline will pick up a stake in JetSMART, an ultra-low-cost airline belonging to Indigo Partners’ group. The purchase is a part of a brand-new partnership and codeshare agreement, which will see a new mega-network between the Americas.

JetSMART A320
JetSMART operates a total of 33 domestic and international routes within South America, offering many connections for American’s travelers. Photo: JetSMART

Under the proposed network from July 2022, American’s flights to Santiago will become a connecting point for dozens of domestic and short-haul international flights. The carrier serves Santiago from three of its hubs in New York, Miami, and Dallas-Ft. Worth. Smaller hubs would include Buenos Aries and dozens of other connections for passengers. Here’s a look at the route map.

American JetSMART Route Map
Passengers will be able to see a lot more of the US and South America, all while earning AAMiles. Photo: American Airlines

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Advantage

American Airlines also highlighted another major benefit for passengers: the potential to earn miles. While JetSMART does not have its own mileage program, travelers on connecting flights will be able to earn and spend AAMiles, giving more incentive and creating “the best travel loyalty program in the Americas.”

The investment is a long-term strategy, with low-cost JetSMART looking to expand quickly and profitably in the near future. American is also committing to further funding in the coming years to support further development where possible.

JetSmart Airbus A320
The decision to partner with a low-cost airline might mean drastic changes in service levels for passengers, however. Photo: Getty Images

The announcement was met with excitement at both airlines. In a statement, JetSMART CEO Estuardo Ortiz said,

“By connecting and growing our respective networks, and maintaining our distinct business models, we see a compelling value proposition. When completed, this proposed partnership would accelerate JetSMART’s path to becoming the leading South American low-cost carrier while expanding service for American’s customers.”

Onboard

American has been making a concerted push to expand its presence in South America. Since last year, it deepened its partnership with Brazilian low-cost airline GOL to include frequent-flier reciprocity and several new routes. The move also comes as American tackles Delta’s dominance through its ownership stake in LATAM, the region’s biggest carrier.

transatlantic travel corridor
As traffic recovers in the Americas, airlines are looking to deepen their partnerships quickly. Photo: Getty Images

GOL has also welcomed American’s latest investment, with CEO Paulo Kakinoff noting in its quarterly earnings call today,

“We have a very strong partnership with American. That movement is part of a plan to enhance its strong footprint in the region. It is also promising to all the partnerships because the stronger the American is in the region, the most attractive will be our offer. We welcome that movement of American Airlines investing in the region.”

Overall, the move today will be a big win for American Airlines’ and JetSMART’s passengers, providing a broader network and challenge to Delta’s dominance.

What do you think about American’s latest investment? Let us know in the comments!

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