LATAM Eyes Earlier Departure From oneworld

LATAM is looking to depart from the oneworld alliance earlier than originally planned. First spotted by Loyalty Lobby, the airline revealed that it was attempting to leave early in an email update to customers.

LATAM, Delta Air Lines, oneworld
LATAM could leave the oneworld alliance earlier than planned. Photo: Rafael Luiz Canossa via Wikimedia

In September, Delta Air Lines made a huge announcement. The airline caught the industry off guard, announcing that it would purchase a 20% stake in LATAM. This is alongside an aircraft transfer and some other little pieces here and there. LATAM has been due to depart from oneworld on the 1st of October 2020. However, now, the airline is looking to depart the oneworld alliance early.

Early oneworld departure

When LATAM announced its investment from Delta Air Lines, the first question raised was “Will LATAM remain in oneworld?” The answer was soon confirmed by a press release stating that LATAM would leave oneworld. The airline’s standard notice period for departing the alliance is one year.

However, according to a public FAQs list about the deal, the airline stated: “At the moment, all your benefits remain the same, until the official oneworld alliance cut-off date on October 1. It is important that you know that we are evaluating an exit prior to October 1, 2020”.

LATAM, Delta Air Lines, oneworld
A LATAM predecessor first joined the alliance in 2000. Photo: oneworld

Simple Flying contacted LATAM regarding the statement, and a representative told us the following:

“LATAM advised oneworld and its alliance partners in September 2019 that it would leave oneworld within one year, in line with the standard notice period. The company is evaluating an earlier departure date with any change to be communicated in due course.”

What does the deal mean for passengers?

When LATAM formally leaves the alliance, LATAM frequent fliers will lose access to their benefits with other oneworld members. This means, for example, a LATAM Black cardholder will no longer be eligible for lounge access when flying with British Airways.

What does LATAM get?

While LATAM passengers will lose their access to oneworld benefits, the airline is set to gain a fair deal out of Delta Air Lines’ 20% investment into the company. For the 20% stake, Delta will invest $1.9 billion into LATAM.

LATAM, Delta Air Lines, oneworld
Delta Air Lines will take some of LATAM’s Airbus A350 order. Photo: Airbus

Delta has also said that it will contribute the sum of $350 million to help create a strategic partnership between it and LATAM. In exchange, Delta Air Lines will take 14 of the South American airline’s Airbus A350s. Four existing, and ten future aircraft. Delta will also get some representation on LATAM’s board of directors.

Simple Flying has contacted oneworld regarding this story and will update the article with any relevant response.

Do you think LATAM will leave the oneworld alliance earlier? Should they be allowed to? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!