Who are the air masters in America?

The recent purchase by Delta of 20% of the shares of Latam Airlines worth 1.9 billion dollars has become one of the most aggressive and strategic moves to dominate the skies of America.

The maneuver seeks to establish a dominant position in air transport in America given the size of both companies, in a year other companies in the sector such as Avianca suffer turbulence.

The agreement between these giants of the air supposes the creation of a leading group that will interconnect America thanks to the exchange of frequency codes and their percentages of participation in the continental market.


In the United States, Delta is the third largest player in the airline market with 17.2% of the share, behind American (17.7%, former partner of Latam) and Southwest (17.4%), according to data from the US Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) as of June 2019.

Of these three airlines, only Southwest does not fly to international destinations.

United, merged with Continental in 2010 in an operation that amounted to 3.2 billion dollars, occupies the fourth line with a 15.1% stake, while Alaska, JetBlue, Spirit, Frontier, SkyWest and Hawaian Airlines follow , which combined are distributed 20.5% of the cake.

According to the BTS, US airlines had transported 790 million passengers through national and international destinations until June 2019.

In Canada, the position of the flag airline Air Canada is more than dominant, with 53%, followed very far by WestJet with 37% and others with 10%, according to statistics from the Annual Information Form and Canadian aeronautical authorities.


In Latin America, flag airlines (national companies) have regressed against conglomerates (mergers) and, especially, in recent years before low-cost companies, which are taking over the market.

Latam is the leader in the area with a participation of 18.1%, according to what is indicated by the CAPA Aviation Center with a cut as of September 2.

GOL, the second low-cost airline in Brazil, with 15% of international traffic in the South American giant, follows Latam in the region with 9.7% of the market share.

Another Brazilian low-cost airline, Azul, owned by American businessman David Neeleman, has earned 7.6% of the band, while Avianca, the second oldest airline on the planet after KLM and in the process of restructuring, arrives at 7.40%.

On August 27, Avianca Holdings, parent company of Avianca, denied that the company was "broken", as its president Roberto Kriete was heard saying, in an audio that was leaked to the press of a meeting with a group of employees

Avianca Holdings had a net loss of $ 475.94 million in the first half of 2018, while in the same period last year it had been $ 31,972 million, according to its balance sheet released on August 15.

Volaris, a "low cost" headquartered in the Mexican city of Tijuana and flying to intermediate destinations in North, Central and South America, has a "slice" of 5.3%.

The first flagship airline in this market ranking in Latin America is Aeromexico with 5.10%, while American Airlines, the "queen" in the US, barely takes a piece of 3.80%.

Interjet, a Mexican company considered within the industry as a kind of "hybrid" between "low cost" and traditional due to the increase in its fleet and its destinations both in Mexico and internationally, has been made at a space of 3.5%.

Copa Airlines, whose operations hub is located in Panama and which was distinguished in January this year as "the most punctual in Latin America" ​​by the Official Airline Guide (OAG) of London, is in the ninth box with the same 3.5 %.

The list of the first ten airlines in the Latin American market made by CAPA Aviation Center is closed by Aerolineas Argentinas with 3.40%.

In total, until September of this year, these first ten companies had transported 6,315,368 passengers.


In recent months, several Latin American airlines have signed codeshare agreements with global partners, allowing them to reach more destinations and raise more profits.

On May 3, Latam and Emirates sealed an agreement to offer codeshare flights that will allow passengers from Dubai to connect with 17 Brazilian locations from Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

A month ago, Copa Airlines and Spain's Air Europa signed a similar commitment that entered into force on June 3, when the latter began operations in Panama.

Copa said the agreement with Air Europa included its code on flights to and from San José, Managua, San Salvador and Guatemala City.

In December 2018, the same Cup and Lufthansa extended their code-share agreement after which the Panamanian airline was allowed to market the route operated by the German line between Panama City and Frankfurt.

With Delta's entry into Latam, the battle of the air in America becomes more difficult for medium-sized competitors while low-cost companies continue to search the bound pocket traveler without limit.

The fluctuating oil market and the new flight conditions in the face of the climate crisis are two factors that will mark the result of this new chapter of air transport.

Luis Alejandro Amaya E.

. (tagsToTranslate) amos (t) aires (t) America

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