LATAM to leave oneworld in October 2020?
LATAM, Chilean airline, is potentially leaving oneworld alliance from October 1, 2020, a message of current alliance partner suggests. While the exit was expected since LATAM formed partnership with Delta Airlines in September 2019, the date has not previously been revealed.
Delta Airlines acquired LATAM’s 20% stake for $2 billion in September 2019. Immediately after both airlines announced the deal, oneworld announced that LATAM would be leaving the alliance.
Having received LATAM’s notification about its intention to partner with an airline outside the alliance, Delta, the decision to leave the alliance was to come into effect in “due course” according to “formal contractual requirements”, a statement by oneworld read at the time.
Oneworld expressed the disappointment of losing the member, but claimed they “respected” the decision and would continue to deliver customer benefits until the exit date. “Our priority at this time is to our customers and while LATAM remains a member of oneworld, the full customer benefits will continue to be delivered,” according to the statement.
Now, Australian airline Qantas, which is also a member of oneworld, has issued a notification for customers, providing insight on the date when the “due course” might actually fall on: October 1, 2020. From that date on, new bookings on LATAM flight numbers would no longer receive Status Credits, Qantas warns passengers in its website.
LATAM and Delta Air Lines are both associated with different airline alliances. While the Chilean airline has been a member of oneworld since 2000, Delta is a founding member of SkyTeam (formed in 2000).
However, LATAM’s change of alliance does not stop all alliance-related complications that arose from its partnership with the U.S. legacy carrier. One of the most prominent members of oneworld is Qatar Airways. Coincidently, the Gulf airline owns a 10% stake in LATAM since 2016.
Following the partnership announcement, Chief Executive Officer of Qatar Airways, Akbar al-Baker, revealed that the Middle Eastern carrier was in the dark regarding the deal – despite having a representative on LATAM’s executive board. However, al-Baker also expressed interest to up Qatar’s stake in LATAM, if given the opportunity, Reuters reported in September 2019.
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