Delta plans to add ‘key spokes’ from Miami with LATAM tie-up
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Do not expect Delta Air Lines to plop down a major new hub in South Florida and challenge American Airlines in the de facto gateway to Latin America any time soon.
But Atlanta-based Delta does plan to add some “key spokes” in Miami (MIA), though not a large hub, to support its new partner LATAM Airlines that it wooed away from American last month, said Delta president Glen Hauenstein during its third quarter earnings call on Thursday.
“We’re not creating a new hub, we’re not creating a giant connecting complex — we’re making selective adds,” he said.
Miami is LATAM’s largest U.S. gateway with up to 11 daily flights to 10 South American cities, including Buenos Aires (EZE), Lima (LIM) and Santiago (SCL) in Chile, according to Diio by Cirium schedules. Delta serves the airport from its hubs in Atlanta (ATL), Detroit (DTW), New York John F. Kennedy (JFK), Minneapolis/St. Paul (MSP) and New York LaGuardia (LGA), as well as from Havana (HAV) in Cuba.
For comparison, American serves 54 cities in the U.S. from Miami, Diio schedules show.
There are only a few incremental routes that Delta may add to support LATAM in Miami after their planned codeshare kicks in by the end of the year, said Hauenstein. That may change once the airlines implement their planned joint venture, he added, but that tie-up is likely two years away.
Hauenstein declined to provide any more details on Delta might go from Miami beyond his comment on “key spokes,” when asked by analysts and reporters.
New York and Atlanta — both already served by Delta — were the largest domestic markets for travelers originating in Miami in the second quarter, according to U.S. Department of Transportation data via Diio. Other top 10 markets include Chicago O’Hare (ORD), Los Angeles (LAX) and Washington National (DCA).
Missing from the Miami traffic data, however, is where LATAM passengers —largely South Americans traveling to the U.S. — want to go. For example, Orlando (MCO) is a well-known popular destination for Brazilians, and one that American serves seven times daily from Miami.
For those wanting a flight map of Delta’s plans in Miami, Hauenstein said the airline’s growth will be incremental and similar to what it has done in Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) and Denver (DEN). The carrier has grown capacity by double-digits at both DFW and DEN since 2014, according to Diio. Most of that, though, is from added frequencies and shifting flights to larger aircraft, and not necessarily from new routes.
Miami, no matter where Delta goes, is set to become a “war zone” between entrenched American, Delta and LATAM, wrote Brett Snyder on the Cranky Flier blog earlier this month. American, for its part, has already announced additional flights on existing routes to three key LATAM markets: Lima (LIM), Santiago, and São Paulo Guarulhos (GRU).
A larger Delta in Miami is a bit of a throwback to its never-realized partnership with Pan Am in 1991. After Delta purchased the latter’s European routes, the two agreed to partner to Latin America with Pan Am continuing to operate flights from Miami. The partnership never went through due to Pan Am’s dire financial situation, and the iconic brand joined the airline graveyard shortly after.
Delta has early expectations of 3-4% year-over-year capacity growth in 2020, with executives saying today they will unveil their plans at a December investor day. The airline anticipates a roughly 4% year-over-year increase this year.
Featured image by bradleypjohnson via Flickr.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants in the first three months of card membership.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Earn 50,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
- Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees