Delta begins GOL separation in pivot to LATAM Airlines

Dec 11, 2019

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Delta Air Lines has taken the next step in its new partnership with LATAM Airlines, selling its stake in GOL ahead of a divorce from the Brazilian carrier.

Atlanta-based Delta had sold its 9% stake in GOL by the close-of-business on Dec. 10, the latter airline said on Tuesday. The amount of the sale, which occurred over several days, was not disclosed.

Delta valued its stake in GOL at $256 million at the end of September.

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The sale was expected following Delta’s tie-up with LATAM. Delta CEO Ed Bastian said in September that the airline would “regrettably be exiting” its stake in GOL whose network was limited to just Brazil. LATAM’s network, by comparison, covers South America with major bases in Lima (LIM), Santiago (SCL) in Chile, and São Paulo (GRU).

Delta and GOL are also expected to end their codeshare, frequent flyer and lounge partnerships, though no timeline has been given.

Susannah Thurston, a spokeswoman for Delta, confirmed that the sale was a step towards the airline’s strategic partnership with LATAM.

Delta and LATAM plan form a joint venture covering flights between South America and the U.S. They expect to reach a pact, which will allow them to operate as essentially a single airline in the market, next year with regulatory approvals likely stretching into 2021.

Related: GOL seeking new North American partner after Delta departure

GOL executives have said the airline is seeking new partners, with many expecting a tie up with American Airlines.

American and LATAM will end their codeshare partnership on Feb. 1, and the latter will exit the Oneworld alliance by the end of September.

GOL is the largest carrier in Brazil. The airline carried nearly 37% of the 78.3 million passengers that flew in the country between January and October, data from Brazil’s aviation regulator ANAC show. LATAM had a 32% share over the same period.

Related: The best credit cards for airline lounge access

Featured image by Fabrizio Gandolfo/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images.

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