The trans-American Joint Venture Agreement signed by Delta Air Lines and LATAM last year has been given final approval in Brazil. Uruguay has also ratified the deal, leaving just the US and Chile to rubber-stamp the partnership.
Final approval for Delta and LATAM in Brazil
The final approval for the Delta-LATAM joint venture has been given this week by Brazil. The agreement, which has also been given the nod from Uruguay, still needs approval in some other jurisdictions.
Nevertheless, it’s a step in the right direction for the partners following the initial approval of the “trans-American Joint Venture Agreement” received last September. The Brazilian regulatory authority CADE gave final approval without any conditions. Still to formally ratify approval are the USA and Chile.
Delta CEO Ed Bastian commented on the approval, saying,
“This final approval in Brazil furthers our mission to provide customers in this important market with the world-class travel experience and options they deserve. Moving forward, we will continue working with LATAM to unlock more benefits for our customers and create the premier airline alliance of the Americas.”
News of the joint venture first emerged in September 2019, when Delta purchased a stake in the South American carrier of 20%. Investing $1.9 billion for the stake, it came with some transfer of aircraft and an additional $350 million to support the establishment of the strategic partnership.
In December that year, the codeshare agreement signed between the partners allowed passengers to begin feeling the benefits of the deal. And in May 2020, the highly anticipated joint venture agreement was signed between both airlines.
Despite LATAM filing for bankruptcy later that month, the JVA has pressed ahead. With ratification from two key nations involved in the process, the agreement has few hurdles left to overcome. LATAM Airlines Group CEO Roberto Alvo added,
“This ruling reinforces the benefits of this type of agreement for travelers and enables us to advance in our commitment to delivering greater and better connectivity between South America and the world.”
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What does the JV mean for fliers?
For frequent fliers on Delta and LATAM, the new joint venture will enable a broader range of benefits and a wider network, including:
- The purchase of tickets to a larger network of destinations. Through codeshares arrangement between Delta and some LATAM subsidiaries, passengers will be able to go further on a single itinerary.
- Wider accrual of points and miles. Whether passengers are LATAM Pass members or Delta SkyMiles customers, they’ll be able to earn and redeem points and miles on both airlines in equal measure.
- Shared terminals for easier connections. Both airlines will share terminals at T4 in New York’s JFK Airport and at T3 at São Paulo’s Guarulhos Airport, which will make for faster and easier connections between flights.
- More lounges! For lounge lizards, qualifying customers will be able to access 35 Delta Sky Club lounges in the United States. In South America, five LATAM VIP lounges will be opened to guests of both airlines.
Overall, it should be a positive move for passengers from both sides of the Americas.