At a time when airline alliance lines are tightening in some places, they seem to be loosening in others.
Australia's Qantas, a longtime Oneworld member, and a joint venture partner with American Airlines, has just cut a deal with Skyteam member Air France/KLM that allows Qantas frequent flyers to use their points to book award flights throughout the AF/KLM network, and to earn Qantas points on flights they pay for on AF/KLM. That's a significant step beyond the code-share alliance the two sides set up last year.
But on the other side of the world, LATAM's new part-ownership by Delta, another key Skyteam member, is taking LATAM, South America's largest airline, out of Oneworld, and out of a long-planned regulated joint venture with IAG, parent of British Air and Iberia.
So, in some ways, we may be seeing the edge of an era in which route and market ties between individual large carriers may sometimes outweigh the market and route advantages of alliances that include numbers of small carriers. Time will tell...maybe.