South America’s largest airline LATAM will leave the oneworld alliance as part of a surprise deal announced this morning that will see the SkyTeam member Delta take a 20% stake in the airline.

LATAM and Delta will cooperate on routes but LATAM hasn’t decided yet whether to join SkyTeam.

This will leave a big hole in oneworld’s network, which has no other members based in South America.

It’s not yet clear how this will affect Qantas’ partnership with LATAM. The airlines cooperate as alliance members, including by codesharing on each other’s networks and giving frequent flyers reciprocal benefits.

Some form of the existing arrangement can continue, of course. Qantas partners with airlines that aren’t in the oneworld alliance, including several SkyTeam members in which Delta also has a minority stake.

Stay tuned for more information as it comes to hand!

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