Aeromexico and Delta Air Lines will relinquish slots in New York and Mexico City to pave the way for a joint co-operation agreement described as the biggest trans-border alliance involving Mexico and the United States.
The airlines will relinquish to competitors four landing and take-off slots at New York’s John F Kennedy Airport and 24 slots in Mexico City in order to get the approval.
The new joint venture will allow the airlines to coordinate their network planning, pricing, and sales activities as well as better align their frequent flyer programs.
It is seen as an important milestone in Delta’s move to acquire up to 49 per cent of Grupo Aeromexico through a cash offer announced last year.
The DoT determined the conditions meant the alliance had the potential to provide substantial benefits for the travelling public in areas such as boosting connectivity between the US and Mexico.
A potential lack of competition was one of a number of issues the department identified that could prevent the public from realising those benefits.
Delta said benefits would include more flights to more destinations as well as more jobs for Delta employees as services between the two countries grew.
“Together, Delta and Aeroméxico are stronger in the U.S.-Mexico market than either airline can be on its own,” Delta chief executive Ed Bastian said 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.’’
Delta said the partnership would allow it to offer more destinations and frequencies with improved connecting schedules and seamless operations. The airlines will also co-locate and invest in airport facilities such as improved gates and lounges, it said.
Aeromexico carries more than 17 million customers annually and serves 84 destinations from hubs in Mexico City, Monterrey, Guadalajara, and Hermosillo.
Its 130-aircraft fleet includes Boeing 787, 77 and 737 planes as well as smaller Embraer jets. In 2012, it ordered 90 fuel efficient Boeing 737 MAX planes as well as 10 787-9 Dreamliners.
Atlanta-based Delta carries 180 million passengers a year and serves 312 destinations in 54 countries with a fleet of more than 800 aircraft.
Both airlines are members of the SkyTeam alliance offering more than 1000 destinations in 177 countries.