American Airlines partners with South American ultra low-cost carrier JetSmart

Published on : Friday, July 30, 2021

American Airlines announced a partnership with South American ultra low-cost carrier JetSmart.

JetSmart, which was founded in 2016, operates primarily out of bases in Chile and Argentina. The airline has a fleet of 20 Airbus A320ceo and A320neo aircraft, with 79 more pending deliveries. It flies short-haul routes throughout the two countries, as well as to destinations in Brazil, Uruguay, Peru and Colombia.

It’s owned by Indigo Partners, the private equity firm that owns a range of ULCCs including Frontier Airlines in the U.S., Wizz Air in Europe, Volaris in Mexico and Cebu Pacific in the Philippines, among others.

Under the partnership, the two airlines will codeshare, and American Airlines AAdvantage members will be able to earn and redeem miles on JetSmart. American will purchase a minority ownership stake in the ULCC, and American and Indigo will jointly commit to provide additional capital to fund potential future opportunities in the region.

American operates flights to 17 cities in South America, while JetSmart currently services 33 cities. The airlines will offer connections in Cali, Medellin and Bogota, Colombia; Lima, Peru; Buenos Aires, Argentina; and Santiago, Chile.

The partnership comes alongside American’s existing codeshare agreement with Brazilian carrier GOL.

Together, the two codeshare agreements help make up for American Airlines’ still-stinging 2019 loss of its codeshare with Latam, which is the South American airline stemming from the 2012 merger of Chilean flag carrier Lan and Brazilian airline Tam.

In 2019, Delta Air Lines announced its own partnership with and ownership stake in Latam, effectively stealing the carrier away from American Airlines and its other Oneworld partners.

Still, American Airlines said, the impetus for the new partnership is to expand service for its customers based on current opportunities — not to make up for the pre-pandemic Latam breakup.

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