Delta and Aeromexico End Codeshare Agreement
February 9, 2024: A pivotal agreement between Delta Air Lines and Aeromexico, offering passengers seamless travel under a codeshare arrangement, faces termination due to a recent US Department of Transportation (DOT) decision. This development, announced on February 8, 2024, stems from changes implemented at Mexico City’s Benito Juarez International Airport (MEX), sparking concerns about competition and fairness in the aviation sector.
The DOT found that the Mexican government’s relocation of cargo operations and commercial flight slot reductions at MEX disproportionately disadvantaged existing carriers and potential new entrants. These actions, deemed “fundamentally out of compliance with existing bilateral air service agreements,” triggered the US government’s disapproval of the antitrust immunity granted to the Delta-Aeromexico codeshare agreement.
While Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador defended the airport changes, emphasizing their aim to revitalize the underutilized Felipe Angeles International Airport, the DOT expressed concerns about their impact on fair competition. Consequently, airlines operating under the codeshare agreement have until October 26, 2024, to “wind down their joint venture.”
This decision sends shockwaves through the industry, potentially impacting millions of passengers who benefited from seamless connections and travel options on both airlines’ networks. Delta expressed deep disappointment, highlighting this collaboration’s economic benefits for both countries. While Aeromexico has not officially commented, the termination casts a shadow on their future cooperation.
Beyond immediate concerns, the ruling raises broader questions about international aviation regulations and balancing economic growth and fair competition. While aiming to boost a new airport, the Mexican government’s actions ultimately disrupted established partnerships and raised concerns about regulatory compliance.
The coming months will be crucial in observing the fallout from this decision. Delta and Aeromexico must adjust their operations and inform passengers of the changes affecting their travel options. The international aviation community will also monitor the situation, assessing its potential implications for future collaborations and regulatory frameworks.