United Airlines, Avianca Holdings, and Copa Holdings are in talks to form a three-way joint business partnership. Avianca and Copa released statements on the talks on Wednesday.
“[We have] been in discussions with United Airlines regarding the possibility of establishing a three-way joint business agreement that would cover the combined networks between the United States and Latin America,” Copa and Avianca said in their statements. “At this point, we can provide no assurances as to whether or when the parties will finalize the agreement.
“[We are in talks] regarding the possibility of a joint business agreement that would enhance our joint networks between the United States and Latin America, increase travel options for our customers, and improve the customer experience for travelers,” United said in an email sent to ATWonline. United has not released a statement on the talks.
In February, United President Scott Kirby said that the three airlines were in negotiations to “deepen the companies’ commercial and strategic relations.”
Avianca initiated talks in 2017 to seek a “strategic commercial alliance” with United. Copa joined the discussion at a later date.
At the time of writing, neither the topics being discussed nor the potential terms of the deal have been released.
All three airlines are members of Star Alliance. Copa and Avianca are codeshare partners with United and with each other.
“Similar agreements have been placed in the past such as United and Lufthansa, which lasted three years and United with Air Canada that lasted two years. Airlines have been negotiating for a long time,” said Hernán Rincón, the President of Avianca. “A minor point is missing, but it is not easy, although there is not much left.”
Should this deal be finalized, it would compete with an existing joint venture between American Airlines and LATAM.
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