Delta Air Lines is injecting $100 million to forge a strategic alliance with Latin America’s biggest low fares carrier GOL.
The US airline is taking a “strategic minority interest” in Brazil-based GOL to tap into growing passenger numbers in the region.
GOL claims a 40% market share in Brazil, with the deal leading to expanded co-operation with Delta.
The airlines estimate that the number of Brazilians with the financial resources to fly is projected to increase by 19.5% by 2020 to reach 153 million.
The arrangement will lead to more codeshare flights between the US and destinations across South America.
The agreement complements a Delta codeshare with Aerolineas Argentinas, which is due to join the SkyTeam alliance next year, as well as a long-standing codeshare with existing SkyTeam partner Aeromexico in which Delta plans to take an equity stake.
The US airline’s CEO Richard Anderson said: “GOL has been a strong partner for Delta in Brazil and Latin America. This agreement reinforces our relationship and moves Delta one step closer to achieving our goal of becoming the best US carrier in the region.
“By forming a long-term commercial partnership, we will capitalise on the strengths of our two networks to provide expanded customer benefits and better serve the US-Brazil marketplace.”
His counterpart at GOL, Constantino de Oliveira Junior, said: “The agreement is in line with GOL's strategy of seeking out long-term partnerships and strengthening its capital structure with a focus on generating value to its shareholders.
“Delta's vast experience in the US, the industry's most developed market, combined with Brazilian commercial aviation's growth potential, provides an opportunity to improve our business model and return on capital employed over the next years.
“Our customers will benefit from additional flight options, more flexibility and new products and services.”
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