In another round of network updates, Delta Air Lines had just added two long-haul South America routes to its 2023 and 2024 schedules.
Delta will launch a new daily service between New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to Buenos Aires. The carrier made a foray into this market only briefly earlier this century, from December 2008 to March 2009.
Delta will also resume long-suspended seasonal service this year between JFK and Rio de Janeiro, a direct route that it operated up until March 2020 before shutting it down indefinitely due to the pandemic.
Daily flights from the Big Apple to the Argentinian capital are set to commence on October 28, 2023, and continue through March 29, 2024; while daily service to Rio de Janeiro will be reinstated on December 16, 2023, running through February 21, 2024.
In its January filing with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) for authorization to add these routes, Delta actually requested approval for year-round service between New York and Buenos Aires, but the carrier told TPG that it’s only planning to operate winter flights thus far.
Of the two new New York-to-South America routes, only flights to Rio will operate under a newly-formed partnership between Delta and LATAM Airlines Group, which received final DOT approval back in October after being initially announced in September 2019.
As part of the agreement, Delta invested in a 20-percent stake in the Latin American mega-carrier and pulled LATAM away from the Oneworld Alliance to join its own SkyTeam network affiliation.
Through the joint venture, the two major carriers can split revenues on flights traveling between North and South America, and enjoy antitrust immunity, enabling them to synchronize schedules and fares across those markets. Delta and LATAM have already revealed some of the benefits customers will enjoy under the pact, such as mutual frequent flyer mile accrual and redemption, elite-status perks and shared lounge access.
The joint venture agreement has allowed the pair of major airlines to launch two new routes between North and South America thus far: Orlando to Bogota and Los Angeles to Sao Paolo.
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