AviancaTaca calls for joint venture alliances

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AviancaTaca would like to enter into immunised joint venture partnerships between Latin America and the USA.

Estuardo Ortiz, chief operation officer of the Latin American airline group, says that the region's governments should support airlines in entering into these alliances with US carriers, at the Routes Americas forum in Cartagena on 10 February. He cites the benefits that airlines in Europe and the USA have gained from their immunised partnerships over the north Atlantic as a reason for the collaborative partnerships.

"It's definitely in our interest to get anti-trust immunity," says Ortiz. "Then we can talk about pricing and capacity with our partners."

Immunised alliances should be between carriers that have a network large enough to avoid concentration in a few markets, he adds.

"One of the things we always hold out there is setting up an open skies agreement so you actually take the government regulation out of the process," says Brian Hedberg, senior air services negotiator in the US Department of Transportation's office of international aviation, at the conference. This enables immunised partnerships to form, he says.

US carriers have formed immunised joint ventures with airlines from Australia and Japan, as well as from the European Union.

AviancaTaca is member of Star Alliance and a codeshare partner with United Airlines and US Airways. Ortiz says that the alliance enables greater bilateral relationships by highlighting opportunities within its network, providing passenger flows data and information on operations at a partners hub, for example when their banks of flights are and how long it takes to transfer luggage.

"Star is basically just providing a framework for each individual member to expand their network in a bilateral manner," he says.

Hernan Pasman, chief executive of LAN Colombia, says that the Oneworld alliance also works to enable bilateral relationships between member carriers, at the conference.