Delta Air Lines and Aeromexico have accepted the conditions set out by US and Mexican regulators for antitrust immunity of their planned joint venture.
The carriers must divest 24 slot pairs at the Mexico City airport and four slot pairs at New York John F Kennedy airport in exchange for approval. In addition, they will have to renew the immunity in five years.
However, both Delta and Aeromexico anticipate significant commercial benefits from the expanded partnership. Antitrust immunity allows them to coordinate schedules, destinations and fares, as well as co-locate at airports and jointly invest in facilities on both sides of the border.
“Together, Delta and Aeroméxico are stronger in the US-Mexico market than either airline can be on its own,” says Ed Bastian, chief executive of Delta, in a statement. “The partnership will make it possible for us to offer customers more flights to more destinations, with more choices every time someone travels across the border.”
Aeromexico chief executive Andres Conesa adds: “This agreement will mark the beginning of a new era in the aviation of North America, as the first and the largest cross-border alliance between Mexico and the United States.”
Neither carrier provided a firm timeline for implementation of the joint venture. However, their joint statement indicates that it will occur after the required slot divestitures in Mexico City and New York are complete.
Delta executives have previously said that they plan to implement the partnership in early 2017.
The Delta-Aeromexico tie-up is the first international joint venture among airlines in the Americas. American Airlines and LATAM Airlines Group are also seeking a joint venture, however, their partnership may be limited by the still pending US-Brazil open-skies agreement.