For Delta flyers, a new deal with Aeromexico means it could get a lot easier to earn and burn SkyMiles for transborder trips- but such deals also limit competition, which could lead to higher fares.
The Transportation Department gave its tentative approval to a grant of antitrust immunity for a joint venture between Delta and Aeromexico – subject to certain conditions. Final approval of the application would mean that the two airlines can “coordinate their network planning, pricing, and sales activities, as well as enhance the alignment of their respective frequent flyer programs,” DOT said.
Delta has a similar joint venture across the Atlantic with Air France, KLM and Alitalia.
But in order for Delta and Aeromexico to win final approval, the agency said they would have to sell off enough takeoff and landing slots to accommodate 24 new daily transborder flights from Mexico City and six from New York JFK.
“The Department tentatively finds these conditions are necessary to prevent harm to consumers resulting from the carriers’ dominant positions at MEX and JFK, and the inability of new entrant carriers to access slots at the airports,” DOT said. The agency also said it wants to limit the grant of antitrust immunity to five years. DOT said it would issue a final ruling after a comment period that runs through November 30.
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