The US Department of Transportation (DOT) has approved plans for Delta and LATAM to develop what they are calling “an unparalleled network connecting the Americas”.

Skyteam member carrier Delta announced plans to take a major stake in LATAM back in 2019, and a trans-American joint venture was signed between the two carrier the following year.

As part of the agreement LATAM left the American Airlines-founded Oneworld alliance – as yet there has been no news as to whether the Brazilian group will join Skyteam.

In a statement Delta said that once implemented, the approval will enable LATAM Airlines Group, LATAM Airlines Brasil, LATAM Airlines Colombia, LATAM Airlines Peru and LATAM Airlines Paraguay “to begin the work of unlocking new customer and cargo benefits”.

Delta added that the joint venture would “allow passengers to access more than 300 destinations between the US/Canada and South America (Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay)”.

The two groups have already introduced codeshare services, mutual frequent flyer mile accumulation and redemption, as well as reciprocal elite frequent flyer benefits, shared terminals at hub airports including New York JFK, Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Santiago, Chile, and mutual access to 53 Delta Sky Club lounges in the United States and five LATAM Lounges in South America.

Delta said that “more details on the benefits of the partnership will be shared in the coming months”.

Commenting on the news Ed Bastian, Delta’s chief executive officer, said:

“Delta’s partnership with LATAM will help grow the market between North and South America and provide significant and much-needed benefits for customers, and we applaud the DOT for this final approval.

“Now, we’ll get to work with LATAM to transform the travel experience for our collective customers and create new opportunities for our employees.”,