So I check my e-mail this morning and find one from the oneworld airline alliance newsdesk, ominously titled, “oneworld statement on LATAM”. Naturally I wonder what this is all about. Surely they won’t leave the alliance?

Upon opening it, I discover a relatively terse statement that LATAM is going to leave the alliance. It seems they have decided to “partner with an airline outside of the oneworld alliance”.

LATAM Leave For Who?

Delta Air Lines have decided to invest US$1.9 billion into LATAM, representing a 20% stake in the company. They are also purchasing four of LATAM’s Airbus A350s and will take over LATAM’s contract for a further ten. On top of all that, US$350 million is being provided to help them exit the oneworld alliance.

All of this is happening against the backdrop of the American Airlines and LATAM joint venture proposal being declined in Chile relatively recently. Delta has made a play and shaken up the South American market considerably.

Sad Times For Oneworld Frequent Flyers

In my experience, LATAM are an excellent part of the oneworld alliance. I am based nowhere near South America, but I have flown them in economy class from Madrid to Frankfurt and back, which was fine.

The real joy is the business class service I experienced between Auckland and Sydney. While the first time was great, the second time cemented my like for the airline, especially the Champagne breakfast over the Tasman Sea, complete with Mickelsen Gourmet spread!

Overall Thoughts

Quite frankly I never thought I’d see LATAM leave the oneworld alliance. Nothing is ever certain in business and I am sure this deal is right for all parties involved.

Let’s hope that existing oneworld carriers such as British Airways, Iberia and Qantas maintain their relationships with LATAM. This way some of us frequent flyers can still use South America’s best airline with the most comprehensive network.

Do you think it is good or bad that LATAM plan to leave the alliance? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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Featured image by Brian Bukowski (BriYYZ) via Wikimedia Commons.
Delta Airbus A350 by A. Doumenjou / master films for Airbus via Delta.