United Agrees Joint Venture With Avianca, Copa Airlines

November 30, 2018

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United Airlines and two South American airlines have agreed a joint business venture, with a view to integrating their route networks.

Chicago-based United, Columbian airline group Avianca and Panamanian carrier Copa plan to offer new routes and additional flights on existing routes and promise reduced travel times. They said they will integrate services on over 12,000 city pairs.

The trio expect the joint venture to drive traffic growth at major gateway cities and help attract new investment and stimulate economic development.

For passengers, the positives include expanded codeshare options, competitive fares and a more streamlined travel experience, United said.

The US airline’s president, Scott Kirby, said the agreement “represents the next chapter in US-Latin American air travel. We are excited to work with our Star Alliance partners Avianca and Copa to bring much-needed competition and growth to many underserved markets while providing a better overall experience for business and leisure customers.”

For Copa, the airline’s chief executive Pedro Heilbron said the agreement will benefit passengers “by providing competitive fares and a superior network of more than 275 destinations throughout Latin America and the US.” He said it will promote further growth and innovation within the airline industry in the Americas.

The agreement is subject to regulatory approval and the granting of antitrust immunity from the US Department of Transportation and other regulatory agencies.

The three airlines said they will explore the possibility of adding a Brazilian airline to the agreement after the recently concluded Open Skies deal between the US and Brazil.