Delta anticipates Latin America growth in 2014

New York
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Delta Air Lines plans to continue growing in Latin America in 2014, says chief executive Richard Anderson.

“The Latin American economies and Mexico are doing extraordinarily well,” he says at the Society of American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW) fall 2013 conference in New York today. He did not elaborate on where in Latin America Delta would expand.

Capacity on the Atlanta-based SkyTeam alliance carrier was up nearly 10% between the USA and Latin America in October compared to a year earlier, Innovata FlightMaps Analytics data shows.

Delta has applied for at least 20 new US-Mexico route authorities with partner Aeromexico to date this year. However, the majority of those flights will be operated by the Mexican carrier and carry Delta’s code.

The airline was also awarded 14 US-Brazil frequencies from the US Department of Transportation (DOT) in July, which allow it to launch a second daily flight between Atlanta and Sao Paulo Guarulhos in December and maintain its existing daily flight between Detroit and Sao Paulo after 2015.

Delta must transfer the seven frequencies that it currently uses for Detroit-Sao Paulo to US Airways under the carriers’ 2011 slot swap at New York LaGuardia and Ronald Reagan Washington National airports.

Delta codeshares with Brazilian carrier Gol and in 2011 invested $100 million in the airline.

Available seat miles (ASMs) at Delta are expected to be up slightly in 2014 due to its on-going fleet upgauging strategy. However, it has yet to provide guidance for the year.

Upgauging is driving a 2% to 3% capacity increase at the carrier in the third quarter.