The tie-up between Delta Air Lines and South American mega-carrier LATAM is expanding to include a brand-new route.
The two carriers announced on Monday that new service between Orlando International Airport (MCO) and El Dorado International Airport (BOG) in Bogota, Colombia, will commence on July 1, using a 174-seat Airbus A320 jet operated by LATAM Colombia.
The new route will operate daily and go up against existing services in the market operated by Colombian flag carrier Avianca and ultra-low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines.
“Through the Joint Venture with Delta, we will improve our presence in the United States market, which continues to be one of the most important international destinations for Colombian passengers,” Santiago Alvarez, CEO of LATAM Airlines Colombia, said in a statement.
The new route comes just a few months after the joint venture partnership between Delta and LATAM was approved by regulators. The Atlanta-based carrier shocked the industry in September 2019 when it announced that it was taking a 20% stake in LATAM, pulling the airline away from the Oneworld frequent flyer alliance.
As part of the investment, Delta is working to create a strategic alliance with LATAM, boosting flights in Miami and other key U.S. gateway airports to Latin America.
Delta and LATAM have already rolled out multiple customer-facing enhancements under the joint venture, including reciprocal frequent flyer accrual, redemption and elite perks, lounge access benefits and more.
The joint venture allows the two carriers to split revenue on flights between the U.S. and Canada, and South America. The deal also comes with antitrust immunity, meaning that Delta and LATAM can coordinate schedules and fares in those markets.
In addition to the new Orlando to Bogota route, LATAM recently announced new service from Los Angeles to Sao Paulo as the first new market under the joint venture partnership.
LATAM has operations focused on Chile, Brazil and several other countries in South America. So, it likely won’t be much longer until the two airlines announce more new routes or additional ways they are cooperating.
For Delta, the deal with LATAM continues its strategy of taking “equity stakes” in strategic partners it wishes to do business with. Most notable is Virgin Atlantic, with Delta now owning a 49% stake in the London-based carrier. The two carriers essentially operate as one on transatlantic flights between the U.S. and the U.K.