Delta Air Lines sells Gol Linhas Aereas shares

US airline owned just over 5% of the Brazilian airline’s capital and will now focus on partnering with Latam Airlines

Delta Air Lines is no longer one of Gol’s shareholders. The US airline sold its shares of the Brazilian company this week, a volume equivalent to just over 5% of total capital. The information was confirmed by Gol on Tuesday in a note to the market.

The sale of Gol’s shares has been expected since Delta announced the acquisition of 20% of Latam Airlines’ capital in September, a move that surprised the market. In late November, the US airline began the public offering for Latam shares priced at $ 16 per share.

Another step toward the new company was the announcement last week of codeshare agreements between LATAM affiliates in Peru, Colombia and Ecuador that will share passengers traveling to the US in the first quarter of 2020. Its main markets, Brazil Chile and Argentina are expected to join Delta soon, but no date is yet set.

Latam, in turn, confirmed the end of plans to launch a joint venture with the IAG group, which controls British Airways and Iberia, among other companies. The agreement, signed in 2016, aimed to strengthen relations between the two companies as well as with American Airlines. However, due to the prohibition of the joint venture between Latam and American by the Chilean Supreme Court, the project lost its meaning especially when Delta became interested in the partnership with the South American airline. In this scenario, the future of the partnership with IAG was already doomed to an end.

Chess game

Despite the trend of resettlement of US-European partnerships in the face of the new scenario, the situation is so far unpredictable. If Delta and Latam are to expand their synergies, the same cannot be said of other groups in which the US airline has shares. Air France-KLM, for example, has strengthened its liaison with Gol in Brazil mainly through its successful hub in Fortaleza. Latam continues to maintain its code share with British Airways even though it has announced its withdrawal from the Oneworld alliance.

Chess pieces had another unexpected move last week when Richard Branson, the British billionaire owner of the Virgin group, decided to cancel the sale of 31% of Virgin Atlantic’s shares to Air France-KLM. With this, he remains the majority shareholder of the company, while Delta owns 49% of the shares – it is worth remembering that Virgin will compete with Latam on the flight between London and Sao Paulo from March 2020.

Delta offers $ 16 by share of LATAM Airlines (Tobias Gudat)


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