Delta Air Lines is urging the US government to reverse a January order requiring it and Aeromexico wind down their joint venture, saying the airlines played no part in a decision based on a treaty dispute.

“An intergovernmental dispute between the United States and Mexico, over which the [airlines] have no control, provides no rational basis for causing substantial harm to a US carrier,” Delta says in a 9 February filing with the US Department of Transportation (DOT).


Source: Helissa Grundemann/

The DOT in January rejected a proposal to renew the Delta-Aeromexico joint venture on grounds Mexico has violated the US-Mexico air travel treaty

“The department’s tentative proposal is bad industrial policy, bad for the US economy, bad for local communities, bad for trans-border competition and bad for US aviation interests,” Delta adds.

The DOT on 26 January tentatively rejected the carriers’ request to renew their longstanding cross-border joint business on grounds that Mexico has been violating the US-Mexico air transport agreement. As evidence, the agency cited Mexico’s reduction of capacity and prohibition of cargo flights at Mexico City’s International airport.

Delta’s filing calls the DOT’s decision “premature” and “misdirected” and says it will eliminate jobs and lead to fewer flights between the countries.

The airline asks the agency to suspend the ruling and instead pursue other steps to address the air-transport treaty dispute. Those steps should include the DOT addressing its concerns directly with Mexico, under arbitration if necessary, as laid out in the treaty itself, Delta says.

The DOT should also take regulatory action directly against Mexican airlines, Delta adds. It notes that US regulations allow the agency, during such disputes, to restrict flights operated by Mexican airlines to and from the USA.