Op-Ed

Joint agreements help American Airlines serve customers better

KRT

At American Airlines, we believe that joint business agreements are the future of international travel. These agreements allow airlines to share revenue, coordinate schedules and fares, and to work together to market and sell flights operating on specific routes. Today, approximately 50 percent of all trans-Atlantic U.S.-to-Europe traffic operates under a joint business agreement, providing customers all around the world with increased route options and lower prices.

Customers, industry experts, and government authorities around the world agree that joint businesses provide tangible results. Results that not only benefitted the 3.7 billion passengers worldwide in 2016, but also the cities and countries the airlines serve. Historically, these alliances have increased investments in airport infrastructure, driven growth in employment, and provided positive impacts to the local tourism industries by increasing passenger numbers.

American has two joint businesses in place: one with IAG, the parent company of British Airways and Iberia, for routes across the North Atlantic; and one with Japan Airlines for routes across the Pacific. We are seeking government approval to enter a joint business agreement with LATAM Airlines Group for travel between North America and six countries in South America: Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay. So far, our agreement has already been approved in Uruguay, and we hope to receive all required government approvals.

As American Airlines’ premier gateway to Latin America, Miami-Dade County and our customers in South Florida are poised to greatly benefit from our proposed joint business agreement with LATAM. Miami is very important for American Airlines; it’s our largest international and cargo gateway and is home to 12,000 of our colleagues. Just last year we flew 29 million customers through Miami International Airport with our service of more than 345 daily flights to 129 destinations. LATAM is also an important player at MIA, bringing in passengers from 11 cities in Latin America. Through our joint business we hope to connect our complementary networks, giving our customers more options, better service, and lower prices on thousands of routes, many of which neither airline could provide on its own.

We believe a joint business agreement between American and LATAM will be a win for our community. History has shown that joint businesses result in lower fares for customers, new routes, additional frequencies on existing routes, improved schedules, reduced travel, and connection times as well as improved frequent-flyer capabilities. Simply put, a joint business will increase customer choice and enable more travel to MIA from Latin America via American Airlines and LATAM. This not only will benefit but, most important, strengthen South Florida’s economy and Miami's position as the gateway to Latin America.

Robert Isom is president of American Airlines Group.

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