The WSJ reports Delta and United among airlines interested in purchasing Colombia’s Avianca.
Let’s not dwell on United beyond that they attempt to do whatever Delta does. Avianca is in Star Alliance and has limited alliance collaboration with United.
No airline or alliance is truly pan-American. We can conceive of the Americas as 6 broad zones: Canada, US, Mexico + Central America, Caribbean, northern South America, southern South America.
You can argue Mexico and Central America are distinct, effectively they are, though Central America would essentially be another Caribbean were it not for Copa’s powerhouse regional hub in Panama.
The Caribbean is mostly leisure and served by motley routes and airlines based heavily on current and former colonial ties, so is excluded here.
Star Alliance is closest to full coverage with Air Canada, United, Copa, and Avianca. TAP helps with Brazil viz Europe, though southern South America and Mexico are their big gaps.
OneWorld has US and extensive South America coverage in LATAM. They are shut out of Canada.
SkyTeam has Delta and AeroMexico. Aerolinias Argentinas is, let’s say, niche.
Alliances only go so far. Delta’s moves have been the most interesting:
- Delta is seeking to increase its stake in AeroMexico to 49%
- Delta has a relationship with Canada’s WestJet and there are hints they may ratchet that up or seek an ownership stake
- Delta owns 16% of Brazil’s Gol and under new laws could go up to 49%, though the $81 loss Delta recently took may limit their enthusiasm
The Delta relationship with Gol works well in customer experience, and includes SkyMiles earn and redeem. WestJet is currently more limited in customer experience and does not provide for SkyMiles redemptions.
Will Delta cobble together the first true airline of the Americas?