Delta and Aeromexico must end joint venture, DOT rules

In a surprising move, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has ordered Delta Air Lines to unwind its joint venture with Mexican carrier Aeromexico. The DOT cited anti-competitive actions by the Mexican government at Mexico City International Airport as the reason for its decision. The order means that the two airlines will have to end their joint venture by late October, potentially leading to changes in air travel between the U.S. and Mexico.

Delta and Aeromexico have had a close partnership for over a decade, with Delta holding an equity stake in the Mexican carrier. The two airlines codeshare on routes, and Aeromexico has announced plans for new routes to Delta hub cities. Delta has praised its cooperation with Aeromexico and sees Mexico as a source of strength for the company.

The dispute between the U.S. government and the Mexican government revolves around the regulation of Mexico City’s primary airport. The DOT claims that the Mexican government has been anti-competitive in governing slots at the airport, favoring Aeromexico over other airlines. The DOT also argues that the Mexican government has reduced air cargo operations at the airport, leading to falling flight capacity numbers.

As a result of these allegations, the DOT has refused to renew Delta and Aeromexico’s antitrust protections and has ordered the airlines to unwind their joint venture. The airlines will likely have the opportunity to contest the ruling, but in the meantime, they must submit a wind-down schedule to ensure that consumers are not harmed by the end of their partnership.

Delta has expressed its disappointment with the DOT’s decision and has pledged to protect the millions of consumers who have benefited from the partnership. It is unclear what this means for travelers, but it is likely that some aspects of the partnership will remain intact, such as reciprocal loyalty program perks for customers. However, codesharing and coordination of schedules and fares may be restricted.

In conclusion, Delta and Aeromexico will have to end their joint venture by late October unless the DOT’s ruling is overturned. This will likely lead to changes in air travel between the U.S. and Mexico, but customers should still be able to earn miles and enjoy certain benefits when flying with either airline due to their membership in the SkyTeam alliance.

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