Business travel

US DOT approves Delta, Latam joint venture

The U.S. Department of Transportation has approved the joint venture between Delta Air Lines and Latam, first announced in September 2019, the carriers announced Friday. The joint venture will allow passengers to access more than 300 destinations between the United States and Canada and the South American countries of Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay.

Latam filed for bankruptcy protection in May 2020, but noted at that time that the filing would not void the group’s planned deal with Delta. Latam expects to exit Chapter 11 in the fourth quarter of this year, according to the carrier.

Brazilian regulators approved the joint venture in September 2020, and Chilean regulators approved it in October 2021. Pending approval of the U.S. partnership, the two carriers began offering mutual loyalty accumulation and redemption; the reciprocal benefits of elite frequent flyers; shared terminals at certain hub airports, notably New York-JFK, São Paulo and Santiago; and mutual access to 53 Delta Sky Club lounges in the United States and five Latam lounges in South America, according to the carriers.

In addition, Delta and Latam began codesharing in South America in 2020 and in 2021 expanded to 20 routes between the United States and South America, as well as connections to domestic destinations and regional from their hubs in Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Santiago, Lima, Bogota. and São Paulo, depending on the airlines.