LATAM airlines is set to leave the OneWorld Alliance after US airline Delta acquired a 20% stake in the South American airline.
This comes as a blow to American Airlines, as they had hoped to form a partnership with LATAM themselves. In light of the Delta acquisition, they have announced that they will no longer pursue a deal. Which is understandable.
Commenting on the announcement, OneWorld said in a statement:
LATAM advised oneworld earlier today of their decision to partner with an airline outside of the oneworld alliance. LATAM further advised oneworld that they intend to leave the alliance in due course and in accordance with formal contractual requirements. We are disappointed, but we respect their decision. They have been a valued long-term member of the alliance, and we wish them well.
Our priority at this time is to our customers and while LATAM remains a member of oneworld, the full customer benefits will continue to be delivered. As the transition continues, we will work to ensure a seamless experience for our customers.
There has been no announcement as to whether LATAM will join SkyTeam.
LATAM was formed in 2016 through the merger of LAN Chile airlines and TAM Brasil. Whilst the Chilean arm of the airline has been performing reasonably well, the same can’t be said of the Brazilian arm. It’s widely regarded that if the merger hadn’t gone through, then the airline would have failed.
A hangover from the TAM days sees a number of Airbus A350 aircraft operate for Qatar Airways in full LATAM livery. Just a few days ago, an Airbus A350 aircraft was delivered direct from the Toulouse factory to Doha.
As part of the Deal with Delta, the remaining 10 Airbus A350 aircraft that are on order will now be delivered to the North American airline. In addition, Delta will also acquire four A350’s that have already been delivered to the South American Airline.
Delta Airlines is one of the worlds largest. The airline holds a stake in Aeroméxico, Air France-KLM, Alitalia, China Eastern, Korean Air, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Australia and WestJet. Through this, they carry nearly 200million passengers annually.
The deal with LATAM is the largest since the airline merged with fellow US airline Northwest in 2008.
The OneWorld alliance was formed in 1998, becoming operational in early 1999. LAN Chile was one of the first recruits to the new alliance. The other half of LATAM, TAM was originally a Star Alliance member. However, in 2014 the airline joined OneWorld in preparation for the combined airlines official launch.
The alliance is currently the worlds smallest by number of airlines. The thirteen member airlines are American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, JAL, LATAM, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Qatar Airlines, Royal Jordanian, S7 and Sri Lankan.
Royal Air Maroc is scheduled to join the alliance in 2020.
Previous member airlines include Aer Lingus, Air Berlin, Canadian Airlines, Malev and Mexicana. Of these, only Aer Lingus is still in operation.