American Airlines Holds Talks With GOL Following Delta LATAM Acquisition

American Airlines has been reported to have been in talks with Brazilian airline GOL. The two parties are looking to form a partnership which could see them broaden prospects in South America.

American Airlines Holds Talks With GOL Following Delta LATAM Acquisition
GOL and American Airlines in talks. Photo: Leandro Ciuffo via Flickr

What’s the latest?

The talks were reported by Brazilian newspaper, Valor Económico, on 11th October 2019. Translated from Portuguese, it said:

“American Airlines and GOL are negotiating a partnership that could integrate the two airlines’ flights…”

The partnership could see the two airlines join forces to expand the services to and from Latin America. We spoke to a representative from American Airlines who said:

“We’re always exploring potential partners as we’re growing our network and we’ll continue to seek partnerships that make sense for us and our customers.”

The airline said that the talks with GOL were not necessarily a result of the LATAM exit from oneworld, nor were they indicative of GOL joining the alliance, although the future is always open to this possibility.

If GOL did join the oneworld Alliance it might help to repair the damage caused by LATAM’s exit, which happened back in September this year.

As the largest airline serving South America in the oneworld Alliance, LATAM’s exit has now damaged the network served by the alliance. American Airlines’ profitable routes to the continent are likely to suffer. oneworld Alliance has lost all of its major South American members and is likely now looking to rebuild it.

But is GOL the right airline to be filling the hole left behind by LATAM?

American Airlines Holds Talks With GOL Following Delta LATAM Acquisition
LATAM was a major player in the oneworld Alliance. Photo: Sky KoreSCL via Wikimedia Commons

Would a partnership work?

One article published by Loyalty Lobby doesn’t think so. It said:

“Gol alone cannot replace the connectivity that LATAM has been able to provide to American Airlines.”

The article went on to say that the international route network that the airline has is not sufficient to cover the needs of the alliance. And it might be right. On its website, GOL says it has a 13.3% participation in the international market, whilst it mostly prides itself on its ability to deliver in the Brazilian market.

In contrast, whilst also flying to Brazil, LATAM has more of an extensive network. Its subsidiaries serve networks all over South American destinations, the United States, Europe, South Africa and Australia.

The results of this new negotiation has yet to pan out as we’ve learned that the talks are part of routine operations to help American build up its network.

But let’s not forget that GOL was also once in partnership with Delta Airlines. Could the talks between American and GOL be ammunition to stir up the rivalry between oneworld and Delta?

American Airlines Holds Talks With GOL Following Delta LATAM Acquisition
Delta is now profiting from LATAM’s South American routes. Photo: Delta News Hub via Flickr

Delta LATAM partnership

Delta Airlines caused somewhat of a ruckus when it announced its intention to buy a 20% stake in LATAM after LATAM decided to leave the oneworld Alliance. oneworld announced on 26th September that LATAM was to exit the alliance. It was also quick to mention that its mission would not be deterred, saying:

“oneworld remains a strong coalition of high-quality airlines. There has been significant progress in member airlines deepening their bilateral relationships…”

But since then it has been ramping up the offensive and trying to win the favors of Delta Airlines’ leftovers.

GOL exited the partnership with Delta Airlines in late September sighting lack of revenue in the alliance as a potential reason for its departure. And now oneworld is having a stab at a partnership. But if the alliance proves not to be profitable for GOL, will it join forces with American? What do you think? Let us know in the comments.