US major airlines reaping the benefits of Latin American turnaround

Premium Analysis

Latin America was the standout for most of the US major airlines in 2019 and the final quarter of the year was no different - the region, led by Brazil and Mexico, was the best performing entity for American, Delta and United.

Some of the outperformance was driven by capacity cuts to Brazil after the country endured economic weakness in 2018. There was also some rationalisation in the US-Mexico transborder market in 2019, which helped to drive an improved performance for US airlines on those routes.

The momentum for those airlines in Latin America should continue into early 2020 as the positive trends, for now, show no signs of abating.

However, the dynamics in 2020 are changing, as American and LATAM Airlines Group sever ties and LATAM launches the first phase of its relationship with Delta. And American seems to be publicly declaring that it is searching for a new partner in Latin America.

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