MIAMI — Following its new partnership with Delta Air Lines, LATAM Airlines has announced that it will leave the oneworld alliance on May 1, 2020.

The Atlanta-based carrier purchased a 20% stake in LATAM Airlines (LA), the largest carrier in Latin America, for $1.9 billion. The announcement was made in September last year.

Photo: Clement Alloing

The two carriers will now launch a Joint Venture (JV), pulling LATAM away from its current membership in the oneworld alliance and the proposed JV with Delta’s rival, American Airlines (AA).

As a result, LATAM has announced that once it departs the alliance on May 1, “it will end its frequent flyer and reciprocal lounge access agreements with American Airlines.”

“Effective May 1, 2020, LATAM Pass members will not be able to earn or redeem miles on American Airlines flights or access American Airlines lounges. However, LATAM will honor all award tickets on American Airlines flights that have been redeemed with LATAM Pass miles prior to May 1, 2020, for up to 12 months following this date,” said the South American carrier.

According to LATAM, it will maintain its existing bilateral agreements with the majority of oneworld members, including British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Royal Jordanian, S7 Airlines and SriLankan Airlines.

LATAM recently announced that all its operations at New York-John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) will move from its current home at American Airlines’ Terminal 8 to Delta Air Lines’ Terminal 4.

Delta Check-in Lobby at the New JFK Terminal 4. (PRNewsFoto/Delta Air Lines)

At Terminal 4, LATAM’s top-tier passengers will be able to gain access to the SkyClub lounges, furnished by Delta. The move will also streamline passengers’ connectivity between the two carriers.

Also, as part of Delta’s plans to help its newest partner, it will add 13 new daily nonstop flights to Miami International Airport (MIA) from its US hubs, as well as to top corporate travel destinations.

Delta will launch new flights from MIA to Orlando, Raleigh-Durham, Salt Lake City, and Tampa.

Looking Into The Deal

As part of the deal, Delta further plans to acquire four Airbus A350-900s from LATAM and assume the Latin American carrier’s commitment to purchase 10 additional A350 aircraft between 2020 and 2025.

This major investment by Delta came as a shock given that LATAM had spent the past few years (since the US and Brazil created an Open Skies agreement) trying to put together a joint venture of their own.

That JV was initially blocked by the slow ratification of the Brazil-US Open Skies agreement by the Brazilian Senate and faced a further roadblock earlier this year when Chile’s government also blocked it, while Brazil, Colombia, and Uruguay all signed off.

With Delta, LATAM notes that regulatory approval “has been received by authorities in the United States and Colombia for the codeshares announced in December 2019 between Delta and LATAM Airlines Peru, LATAM Airlines Colombia and LATAM Airlines Ecuador respectively.” 

“LATAM’s affiliates in Brazil and Chile also plan to establish codeshare agreements with Delta during 2020,” said LATAM.

It is also expected that Delta and LATAM will continue to negotiate future reciprocal mileage and benefit partnerships between its two frequent flyer programs during the first half of 2020.