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The Battle for South America: American vs. Delta

The Battle for South America: American vs. Delta
Taylor Rains

Competition is growing in Miami as two of the United States’ biggest carriers go head to head in the fight for the airport’s market. Delta Airlines recently signed a codeshare agreement with LATAM, South America’s largest airline holding company, and American Airlines’ former partner. Since the deal, Delta has started beefing up its flight schedule, including four new routes out of Miami. American, who held 74% of Miami traffic before Delta’s route announcement, is fighting back.

American Codeshares with GOL

American is not letting the loss of LATAM ruin its South American expansion. The carrier has announced a new partnership with Brazilian carrier GOL, and after regulatory approval, the partnership will add 20 new destinations to the airline’s network in South America. The agreement will also connect GOL with the United States, adding 30 American destinations to its route map. The new codeshare flights are expected to begin in mid-2020. American’s Network Strategy Senior Vice President, Vasu Raja, explained that a partnership with GOL would add a “better value proposition” for the airline’s Brazilian customers. GOL CEO Paulo Kakinoff said, “As two of the leading airlines in Brazil and the U.S., GOL and American Airlines will offer the best experience for customers on the largest number of flights and destinations in the Americas.”

To further combat Delta, American is adding a seasonal route between Miami (MIA) and Rio De Janeiro (GIG) beginning January 7, 2021, through March 28, 2021, which will be flown on a 787-8 Dreamliner. Furthermore, the airline also announced 12 additional flights to six U.S. cities out of Miami, including Nashville, Boston, Houston, Orlando, Raleigh-Durham, and Tampa, beginning June 4.

Delta’s New Routes

Delta’s new routes will begin in May and include nonstops to Orlando, Raleigh-Durham, Salt Lake City, and Tampa. When asked about Delta’s expansion, Raja said, “We run our own race. Our true north is to be the airline of choice, not only for the Miami-based customer but the Latin American customer who transits over Miami.”

View Comments (4)


  1. Dr.Ells

    February 5, 2020 at 12:17 am

    AA was bonvoyed by Delta. That’s classic. Tam was a terrible airline with a horrific record, Gol is even worse. The one time someone had purchased us tickets on Latam? I should have known better. I should have just bought my own ticket.

  2. drvannostren

    February 5, 2020 at 7:31 pm

    There’s still a couple problems

    1) Not that is has anything to do with this, but Star Alliance having no presence south of Lima basically is a bummer. The whole Avianca Brazil thing turned out to be a boondoggle and they haven’t really been able to replace that.

    2) MIA kinda sucks, maybe if you’re an AA flyer it’s not so bad, but it’s in the corner of the country, meaning it’s not accessible for everyone. If you wanna fly on AA from YVR-BOG or any number of other places in Latin America you’ve gotta make minimum 2 connections. Either in DFW or LAX. SEA has an MIA flight once a day (last time I checked) but it’s a pretty miserable 737 red eye across the country and about as long as you can possibly be on a narrowbody with shitty domestic service. The red eye I flew wasn’t so bad, but the 9pm departure or whatever from MIA to SEA was bloody miserable. I’d like to see some of the expansion come from DFW, but that’s just me.

    3) GOL is basically an LCC no? This is like UA codesharing with Jetstar in south-east asia. You’re selling people a bill of goods without REALLY telling them what they’re getting most of the time. Sure your bags are probably ok to go through without extra fees, but you’re not getting lounge access, leg room, true business class etc etc.

    I’m always good with expansion, just some of it doesn’t really appeal to me I guess.

  3. Sydneyberlin

    February 6, 2020 at 5:46 pm

    The loss of LATAM will really hurt OneWorld. A real shame in my view.

  4. skysoldier82

    February 7, 2020 at 3:45 am

    Loss of LATAM going to hurt OneWorld? They’re ‘tore up from the floor up.’ EXP here, 11 years of flying experience as EXP or 1K and nearly had to go legal against them this year; Credit Card company ended up siding with me after I had to point out the application of their change policies on a J ticket, and how I was due a refund. Picture a language barrier while simultaneously talking to someone on a children’s “tin can with a piece of string” as a phone line….VOIP call center Connection. Garbage.

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