American Airlines has signed a Letter of Intent with GOL, which will see the US carrier take a 5.2 per cent stake in Brazil’s largest airline.

As part of the deal the two carriers will establish an exclusive codeshare agreement, with GOL becoming AA’s sole codeshare partner in Brazil, and American becoming GOL’s sole codeshare partner in the US.

The combined networks will enable customers to travel to over 30 destinations served by AA in the US, and more than 20 new destinations served by GOL in South America.

The agreement will also see reciprocal benefits across the carriers’ AAdvantage and Smiles loyalty programmes, and AA said that “The two airlines also expect to offer an enhanced joint loyalty offering to give customers more ways to earn and redeem miles”.

American will invest $200 million in GOL in return for a 5.2 per cent stake, and will have the right to appoint one member to GOL’s board of directors.

AA said that “The strengthened relationship will also allow for further commercial cooperation in areas such as purchasing, sales tools and systems integrations, as allowed by regulatory and contractual limitations”.

In July American Airlines announced similar plans to take a minority stake in South American low-cost carrier Jetsmart.

American Airlines plans stake in South American low-cost carrier Jetsmart

Commenting on the news Robert Isom, president of American Airlines, said:

“American has long been the leading US carrier to South America and our stronger partnership with GOL solidifies that leadership position. Our long-haul network marries seamlessly with GOL’s strong domestic network in Brazil.

“Together, we will be able to offer customers flying to, through and from Brazil, access to the largest network with the lowest fares and the Americas’ biggest and best joint travel loyalty programme.”