Aeromexico expects to take steps towards joining partner Delta Air Lines’ transatlantic joint venture in the second half of 2018, and does not rule out being part of Delta’s pending transpacific partnership with Korean Air.
Aeromexico chief executive Andres Conesa says the airline wants to first concentrate on its new joint venture with Delta, which went into force in May.
But he says Aeromexico plans to take part in Delta’s expanded transatlantic joint venture with Air France-KLM and Virgin Atlantic Airways, announced in July and pending regulatory approvals.
As part of the expanded joint venture, Air France-KLM will acquire a 31% stake in Virgin Atlantic and Delta acquired a 10% stake in Air France-KLM.
“They are re-arranging their conditions,” says Conesa at a press briefing at the ALTA Airline Leaders Forum in Buenos Aires. “The idea is we jump into that [the joint venture] afterwards.”
He expects that the process for this could begin in the second half of 2018.
Conesa says Aeromexico’s entry will require approvals by Mexico’s competition regulator COFECE, as well as the US and European authorities.
Asked if he expects approvals to take as long as they did for Delta and Aeromexico’s joint venture, he says: “Hopefully not.”
US regulators took about two years and nine months to approve the Delta-Aeromexico deal, forcing the two carriers to divest slots at Mexico City and New York John F Kennedy airports to secure approval.
Separately, Conesa believes it would “make sense” for Aeromexico to also take part in Delta’s pending transpacific joint venture with Korean Air, which was approved earlier this month by the US government. It is awaiting approval by South Korean authorities.
Aeromexico launched service to Seoul Incheon earlier this year.
“Our first step is to consolidate our JV with Delta. By capacity the North Atlantic market is the most important one for us, followed by the others,” says Conesa.