Aeromexico plans codeshare with Avianca-TACA

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Aeromexico expects to begin codesharing with Avianca-TACA as it tries to persuade the newly merged carrier to join it in SkyTeam.

Avianca-TACA, which completed their landmark merger earlier this year, has been looking at joining Star or SkyTeam. Aeromexico CEO Andres Conesa says he is "hopeful" Avianca-TACA will pick SkyTeam, but regardless of its global alliance decision he envisions a bilateral alliance between the two carriers.

Avianca currently codeshares with Oneworld member Mexicana, which is currently the only Mexican carrier serving Colombia. But as Aeromexico prepares to enter the Mexico City-Bogota market early next month, the carrier is also interested in codesharing with Colombia's largest carrier.

"We are working with Avianca and TACA on the new route to see if we can do something together with them," Conesa said on the sidelines of this week's SkyTeam meeting in New York.

He explains a codeshare could be added even if Avianca-TACA opts for Star. "We feel SkyTeam is a better fit for them than any other. We're pushing them forward to choose SkyTeam. Hopefully they do. But we can have a bilateral even before they make a decision," Conesa explains.

He adds: "Obviously they are analysing their alternatives and it's their decision."

SkyTeam is eager to add a second Latin American member to fill the void left by Panama's Copa, which left the alliance last October. "Obviously to be complimented by a Central or South American player would be very good and that's what we are trying to do," Conesa says.

SkyTeam chairman Leo van Wijk says Latin America is priority along with Asia in the alliance's new recruitment drive. Speaking to reporters at this week's meeting in New York, van Wijk said Latin America is a region in which multiple members are required because the region's traffic is spread out across several hubs.

van Wijk declines to disclose which Latin American carriers SkyTeam is currently talking to but both Avianca-TACA and Aerolineas Argentinas have confirmed they are talking to both SkyTeam and Star. Brazil's Gol, which currently has a codeshare with Aeromexico, is also being wooed by SkyTeam and Oneworld but has indicated they prefer for now to remain non-aligned.