American Airlines Dominance At MIA Could Finally Be Challenged After Delta & LATAM Agree To A Deal

For decades, American Airlines has been the dominant airline at Miami International Airport. Now, Delta could be about to challenge them.

Last week, Delta announced a surprise partnership deal with LATAM Airlines Group, the second biggest international airline by passengers at MIA after American. LATAM previously was partnered with American.

As part of the deal, LATAM and Delta will seek a joint business agreement (American had been trying to get a joint venture with LATAM approved but had faced legal challenges). Delta will also invest $1.9 billion for a 20 percent stake in LATAM, spend $350 million to support the new partnership, and acquire up to 14 A350 aircraft from LATAM.

Delta CEO Ed Bastian told the Atlanta Journal Constitution that the airline will expand in Miami as part of the deal. Delta’s Latin America flights will be balanced between Atlanta and Miami, he said. Delta’s senior vice-president of network planning Joe Esposito was even more specific, telling The Points Guy that Delta will realign its network to provide domestic connections at MIA for LATAM passengers.

Bastian’s comments likely mean that Delta planes will be flying new routes to Latin America from MIA, and that there will be domestic connectivity added to support LATAM. Delta has previously said they want to expand in Latin America, but it makes much more sense to do so from Miami, since more passengers are flying to and from here than anywhere else in the U.S., by far (MIA is particularly dominant in cargo, with nearly 80% of Latin American cargo to and from the U.S. passing through the airport).

American has already responded by announcing an increase in service to MIA. AA will add a third daily year round flight to Lima on a 757, beginning April 7. There will also be new flights added from Miami to São Paulo, Brazil (making it three daily for AA) and Santiago, Chile, both beginning in winter 2020, on 777-200 aircraft.

Over the past year, American and its regional affiliate carried 30.8 million passengers, or 67% of traffic at MIA. No other primary U.S gateway airport is as dominated by a single airline as MIA is (gateways to Europe and Asia including JFK, BOS, SEA and LAX all have domestic competition).

Delta is MIA’s longest-serving airline, with its first flight in 1945. Over the past 12 months, the company carried 2,712,549 passengers at MIA, for a 5.9% market share. LATAM carried ‭1,645,169‬ passengers during the same period (or around 3.6% of traffic).

MIA’s South and Central Terminal gates are mostly common-use, and the airport could easily accommodate a Delta and LATAM expansion.

The airport already has plans to expand the South Terminal, which is shared by Delta and LATAM, with three new international-capable widebody gates. There will also be new concession space built in the terminal, as well as a redesign of apron areas to make operations there more efficient. Plans were approved in June.

 

New widebody gates, concession, and apron area planned for the South Terminal, where Delta and LATAM are based:

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POLO
2 years ago

This is a positive development for MIA. Competition will be good for the airport, and passengers that use it.

Anonymous
2 years ago

bwwwaaaaahahahahahahhaaaa !!! because when was the last time a couple of global graverobbers spent millions and billions of dollars just so they could give the end user customer a break ??!!!!

Anonymous
2 years ago

Uber and Lyft, for one.

Anonymous
2 years ago

I saw this coming to AA. Now they are acting in a reactionary fashion. Delta and Latam are expansionists and saw the opportunity. It may be too late for AA to react. We’ll see but it’s good to see competition brewing.

Anonymous
2 years ago

Good news. As a loyal Delta fan, this means hopefully more domestic options when I fly to/from Miami.

Anonymous
2 years ago

Do you mean SkyMiles not fan??

Anonymous
2 years ago

Forget Delta, when will we get some low cost carriers to Miami like Spirit, Southwest or Jetblue.

Anonymous
2 years ago

Frontier flies to MIA and is expanding service.

Anonymous
2 years ago

AA has about 350 daily flights it would take a massive Delta expansion just to get to 150 from there current 40 or so daily flights now.They can do it I mean their Seattle ops expanding very quickly we shall see

Anonymous
2 years ago

SEA-MIA is what you mean? Hope they do. DL couldn’t make FLL-SEA permanent year round.

Anonymous
2 years ago

No I meant how Delta built Seattle hub to a formidable hub in a quick space of time

Bargin Basement
2 years ago

Bargain basement Spirit airlines rapid growth into South America will chip away at three established airlines. Love Spirt or hate them, there model of low prices irrespective of service works. Air travel has turned to a race to the bottom as other airlines are being forced to follow the model.

Anonymous
2 years ago

I’m not so sure. Many folks I’ve talked with would agree Spirit should adopt the old Belgian airline’s name Sabena – Such A Bad Experience, Never Again.

Flymia
2 years ago

This would be great if Delta grows here. I remember when they used to have a bit of a focus city at FLL. Competition is great, and AA product is so low that I don’t think it will be very heard to move passengers to Delta’s superior service.

Michael
2 years ago

This could be a good thing if Delta then also expands the domestic base out of MIA. It’s unfortunate that Orlando has surpassed Miami in air service and that’s due to MCO’s superior domestic network, compared to MIA/FLL.

Anonymous
2 years ago

Really what cities can you not get to from MIA/FLL as compared to MCO?

Anonymous
1 year ago

Here are some interesting facts about size of airport to clarify this thread. Fort Lauderdale has 1,380 acres, Miami 3.300 acres, Atlanta has 4,700 acres and Orlando a whopping 11,609 acres.

The battle is on to be the next Atlanta airport.

I am putting my money of continued expansion in Orlando as MIA and FLL fill up. Large planned construction projects in Orlando over the next 20 years will bring it close to Atlanta’s size. MIA and FLL are becoming landlocked.

Anonymous
2 years ago

Some of you may not have read the same article (above) that I did.

Delta bought 20% of LATAM.

And….

Eugenio
2 years ago

This is good for Miami and I just hope that competition brings competitive prices and good service, which is badly needed.

Aldo
2 years ago

There is another take from this story, goes to show that Avianca is a lost cause at a billion dollars in debt, United who owns them now would have to make another investment at MIA to make their stake at Avianca make any sense. When you add all this interest in MIA we are out of space and concourse F needs to be finalized five years ahead of schedule to make them fit. All good news for us.

Anonymous
2 years ago

I personally think this is being overblown.

Anonymous
2 years ago

please explain? LATAM American dominated flights to Latin America, now this will completely shift.

Anonymous
2 years ago

blehh American shits on these other airlines

Anonymous
2 years ago

and they only have to suck a little bit less than the others.. so there’s that. lmao

Anonymous
2 years ago

AA is objectively awful, by far the worst of the Big Three

Anonymous
2 years ago

MIA NEEDS TO REBUILD FROM THE GROUND UP NOT RENOVATE

Anonymous
2 years ago

And what do you propose the MILLIONS of passengers do in the meantime and giant swath of the local economic do in the meantime?

Anonymous
2 years ago

wait on the curb outside ?

Anonymous
2 years ago

This is MIA not Spirit in August at FLL baking outside T4

Anonymous
2 years ago

If it’s rebuilt today, somehow they’ll screw up, and make the gates too narrow for wingspans, or collapse and bridge or two.

Anonymous
2 years ago

they need to build an e1even express at the airport so visitors can experience during a layover!!