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News broke late last month that Delta Air Lines is buying a stake in South American carrier Latam. American, which is already invested in Latam and which was pursuing a joint venture with the carrier, would get pushed to the side in the transaction.
While the partnership is for the most part still business as usual for American, Latam, and the Oneworld passengers that fly up and down the western hemisphere, many are waiting for the other shoe to drop. For years American and Latam have owned a big part of travel between North and South America. And if Latam starts working with Delta and the SkyTeam alliance, there may be some major loyalty shifts in the works.
Latam, for its part, maintains that it is not joining the Skyteam alliance, but it would also be foolish to show its hand.
Indeed, that may be why Delta was so interested in the carrier. Traditionally, Delta and the SkyTeam alliance have been relatively weak in South America. With Latam in play, however, a whole new world of travelers may open up. Now passengers just need to figure out whether and when to keep their eggs in the Oneworld versus SkyTeam baskets.
News of any alliance transition is still under wraps.
— Grant Martin, Business of Loyalty Editor
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Grant Martin [email@example.com] curates the Skift Business of Loyalty newsletter. He is also a director of product marketing at TripActions. Skift emails the newsletter every Monday.