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[INGLÊS] Os acordos comerciais entre LATAM, American e IAG


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LATAM's JVs Part 1: American Airlines partnership would create the largest US-South America force
Mid-Jan-2016 was a banner period for the oneworld alliance. Latin American powerhouse LATAM Airlines Group tabled plans to forge immunised joint ventures with Europe’s IAG Group and American Airlines, upping the competitive stakes between Europe and Latin America, and the US and Latin America.
The tie-up between LATAM and American is not surprising, despite American’s relative silence on the issue until the formal announcement of the partnership was made. With an impending open skies agreement between the US and Brazil, American’s rival Delta has been trumpeting plans to form a joint venture with its Brazilian partner Gol, and in 2015 United took a stake in Brazil’s third largest airline Azul.
If all the requisite approvals are gained, LATAM and American will solidify their leading presence between the US and South America, drive important revenue synergies and, perhaps over the medium term, add new markets between the two regions. However, given the market concentration of American and LATAM, regulators may be expected to seek concessions for the agreement to move forward.
LATAM and American seek a JV covering LATAM's South American strongholds
An open skies agreement between the US and Brazil was due to take effect in Oct-2015, but it does not appear that the deal has been finalised. That has not deterred airlines serving the countries to prepare for complete open access between the two markets.
Delta Air Lines has upped its stake in Brazilian airline Gol, and stated its intention to forge a joint venture with its Brazilian partner. During 2015 United took a USD100 million stake in Azul, Brazil’s third largest domestic airline, which branched out to the US in late 2014. Azul presently serves Fort Lauderdale and Orlando International from Campinas Viracopos and operates flights from Belo Horizonte to Orlando.
American remained relatively quiet about a potential joint venture with LATAM since dynamics were shifting with Delta and United and their respective partners in Brazil. That changed with the blanket announcement that LATAM was seeking joint ventures with American and IAG.
The proposed joint venture between LATAM and American covers flights between the US and Canada and six South American countries – Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Colombia, Peru, Paraguay and Uruguay. A LATAM airline holds either the leading position, or second leading position, in all those countries (measured by system seat deployment).
LATAM Airlines Group system seat share in countries covered under the proposed JV with American
Country | LATAM | seat share and rank
Paraguay | TAM | Paraguay 35% (#1)
Uruguay | TAM | 18% (#2)
Colombia | LAN | 17% (#2)
Chile | LAN | 65% | (#1)
Brazil | TAM | 28% | (#2)
Peru | LAN | 50% | (#1)
Source: CAPA - Centre for Aviation and OAG
*Note: Covers the time period of 11-Jan-2016 to 17-Jan-2017
LATAM and American work to sustain their leading edge between the US and Latin America
Data from CAPA and OAG for the week of 11-Jan-2016 to 17-Jan-2017 show that American and TAM combined have the largest presence between the US and upper South America, representing nearly 41% of the approximately 165,200 one-way seats on offer between the two regions. Between the US and lower South America, American and LAN hold 59% of the 35,600 one-way seats operated between the two regions.
There are numerous benefits to leveraging the combined scale of LATAM and American through an immunised joint venture.
One of the most valuable is an ability to jointly manage schedules and pricing, to maximise revenue as one entity. That should be a bonus to both companies, as they work to navigate their capacities and pricing during a generally weak period in Latin America’s economy – assuming they receive necessary approvals and launch a joint venture in the 2017 timeframe.
More importantly, the tie-up is about long term positioning in the North America to Latin America market, ensuring that each company sustains its leading rankings, and leverages scale to add new routes that make sense.
American and LATAM already control more than 60% of the seats between the US and Brazil
American’s largest penetration in South America is in Brazil. Until 2015, when Brazil’s economy bottomed out, the airline had made a push into some of Brazil’s secondary markets from the US. Schedules in CAPA and OAG for the week of 11-Jan-2016 to 17-Jan-2017 show that American operates flights from its Miami hub and main Latin American gateway to nine Brazilian destinations – Belo Horizonte, Brasília, Campinas, Manaus, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo Guarulhos, Porto Alegre (with a stopover in Curitiba), Salvador and Recife.
American serves Guarulhos from its hubs at Dallas/Fort Worth and Los Angeles, and Rio and Guarulhos from JFK.
American’s other markets in countries covered under the proposed joint venture with LATAM include flights from Miami and DFW to Santiago and Lima. American is the second largest airline between the US and Colombia measured by seat deployment, holding an 18% share behind Avianca’s share of 38%. American operates service from Miami to Bogotá, Barranquilla, Cali and Medellin.
It also operates flights between DFW and Bogotá.
United States of America to Colombia (seats per week, one way): 19-Sep-2011 to 26-Jun-2016
Source: CAPA - Centre for Aviation and OAG
American no longer has direct flights to Paraguay, after ending flights from Miami to Asunción in 2015. It operates service to Montevideo, Uruguay, from its Miami hub.
LAN’s US-South America route network includes flights to Miami from Santiago, Bogotá, and Lima. It also operates flights from Lima to Los Angeles, Orlando International and New York JFK. LAN also serves New York JFK from its hub in Santiago.
TAM’s largest US market is Miami. It links the Brazilian destinations of Belém, Belo Horizonte, Fortaleza, Manaus, Brasília, Guarulhos and Rio de Janeiro to the South Florida airport. TAM also serves Orlando from Brasília and Guarulhos, and JFK from Rio and Guarulhos. Together, American and TAM control 64% of the one-way seats on offer between the US and Brazil for the week of 11-Jan-2016 to 17-Jan-2016.
United States of America to Brazil (seats per week, one way): 19-Sep-2011 to 26-Jun-2016
Source: CAPA - Centre for Aviation and OAG
American overlaps with LATAM in a few markets, unsurprisingly, the highest concentration of overlap being with TAM on flights to Brazil. Prior to TAM’s exit from the Star Alliance in 2014 to join oneworld, American and TAM were competitors in the US-Brazil market.
LATAM and American overlap on routes covered under the proposed JV: 11-Jan-2016 to 17-Jan-2016
LAN - Miami: Bogotá, Lima, Santiago
TAM - Miami: Manaus, Belo Horizonte, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo Guarulhos
- JFK: Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo Guarulhos
Source: CAPA - Centre for Aviation and OAG
United could be the odd man out if the proposed JVs by American and Delta gain approval
After TAM’s exit from Star there was a significant gap in the alliance’s coverage in South America. Avianca Brazil joined Star in 2015, but as Brazil’s fourth largest airline it does not offer Star nearly the same scope as TAM. Avianca Brazil’s Star partner United opted to take a stake in Azul and forge a partnership with Brazil’s third largest airline to regain lost ground in Brazil.
If the proposed Delta-Gol and American-LATAM joint ventures eventuate, United will be the only airline among the big three US global network airlines without a joint venture partner in Latin America. Delta itself is also attempting to forge an immunised joint venture with its SkyTeam partner Aeromexico.
United’s Star partners in Latin America, other than Avianca Brazil, include Copa Airlines and Avianca. Avianca is the largest airline in Colombia, holding a 57% system wide seat share. It is Peru’s second largest airline, with a 17% seat share. Its three major hubs are Bogotá, Peru and San Salvador.
Copa has carved out a successful business leveraging Panama City Tocumen’s favourable geographical location as a key transit point for connecting traffic from North America to South America. It will be interesting to observe how the Star partners react to the new crop of proposed joint ventures in Latin America. They will either raise their voices in protest, or work to build a competitive commercial alternative to the new business arrangements.
It could be some time before LATAM and American add new markets to their JV
American and LATAM alluded to potential new routes under their proposed joint venture. Given Latin America’s overall general economic weakness, and the timing of approval of the proposed alliance, it seems as if completely new routes could be a couple of years in the future.
If the tie-up gets a green light for a 2017 launch, American and LATAM could spend the initial stages of the joint venture harmonising capacity and improving scheduling on existing routes, but as Latin America’s economic situation improves there could be intriguing new routes under consideration.
LATAM could consider serving American’s hub at DFW to offer better onward connections to central and western US. With Paraguay and Uruguay included in the joint tie-up, it makes sense to consider how those markets fit into the joint venture. At the very least, resumption of direct service from the US to Paraguay appears to be a sound option.
Is the latest round of JVs could usher in a new chapter in Latin American aviation
The creation of a joint venture between LATAM and American seemed almost inevitable after the liberalising of air service between the US and Brazil. After Delta revealed its intent to create an immunised joint venture with Gol, it was only a matter of time before American and LATAM outlined plans to forge a similar arrangement.
Obviously the major difference between the two proposals is the the outsized market concentration that LATAM and American already hold between the US and South America, particularly Brazil. That could raise some eyebrows with regulators, and competitors will no doubt move to flag the market concentration created by the joint venture to the approving authorities. Some concessions may be necessary. However, the new wave of joint ventures on the horizon for Latin America creates an interesting new chapter for the region’s airline industry.


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LATAM's JVs Part 2: IAG joint venture would greatly strengthen their Europe-South America position



The new joint business agreement between International Airlines Group (IAG) and LATAM Airlines Group (LATAM) on flights between Europe and South America was widely anticipated. However, LATAM has pulled off a coup in simultaneously signing similar agreements not only with IAG, but also with oneworld's biggest member - American Airlines. IAG/LATAM would together serve more than 100 destinations in South America and 87 in Europe.

IAG announced the revenue-sharing agreement between British Airways, Iberia and LATAM on 14-Jan-2016. It is another example of what is loosely referred to as a joint venture (JV), under which commercial cooperation on chosen routes moves beyond codesharing to a deeper level. The agreement also encompasses reciprocal FFP recognition.

As JVs typically involve the coordination of schedules and pricing, they require regulatory approval in order to avoid the charge of collusion, which would otherwise be illegal. IAG and LATAM expect this could take 12 to 18 months, so implementation of the JV may not take place until the winter 2017/2018 season. If approved (and if without too onerous regulatory concessions), the JV will strengthen the oneworld members on Europe-South America. Star Alliance and SkyTeam (capacity leader in this market) will need to find responses.

Both IAG and LATAM bring a respectable market share to the deal

The overall Latin American region consists of four sub-regions: Upper South America, Lower South America, Central America and the Caribbean. In many ways, the Caribbean is a distinct market. LATAM has very little presence in this sub-region, and operates no capacity from there to Europe. Therefore, our analysis focuses on the market between Europe and Latin America, ex Caribbean.

Based on schedules data filed with OAG for the start of the summer 2016 season (week of 4-Apr-2016), IAG is the number two airline group by seats between Europe and Latin America, ex Caribbean. Its 20% share ranks it just behind Air France-KLM's 22% share.

The LATAM group ranks fourth, with just over 9%, behind Lufthansa on 10%, and ahead of TAP Portugal. The combination of IAG with LATAM would place the joint venture in first place, with almost 30% of seats on Europe-Central/South America.

Europe to Latin America ex Caribbean: airline groups ranked by share of seats 4-Apr-2016 to 10-Apr-2016

Rank | Airline Group | Share of seats

01 - Air France-KLM - 22.2%

02 - International Airlines Group (IAG) - 20.4%

03 - Lufthansa Group - 10.0%

04 - LATAM Airlines Group - 09.5%

05 - TAP Portugal - 08.8%

06 - Air Europa - 05.9%

07 - Avianca Holdings - 04.5%

08 - Alitalia - 03.0%

09 - TUI Group - 02.9%

10 - Aeromexico - 02.7%

11 - Thomas Cook Group - 02.5%

12 - Aerolíneas Argentinas - 02.0%

13 - Turkish Airlines - 01.2%

14 - Virgin Atlantic - 00.7%

15 - Surinam Airways - 00.7%

00 - All others - 02.9%

Source: CAPA - Centre for Aviation, OAG

Europe accounts for just over 9% of LATAM's international seat capacity (week of 18-Jan-2016, source: OAG), which is mainly focused on the Americas. Latin America takes 68% of its international seats, while North America takes 20%. However, 78% of the group's seats are in domestic markets, so Europe accounts for little more than 2% of its total capacity.

LATAM deploys 29% more seat capacity to Miami than it does to Europe. From Miami, its oneworld partner American Airlines, also now a prospective JV partner on routes between South America and North America, operates to four destinations in Europe: Barcelona, London, Madrid, Milan and Paris.

For IAG, Latin America is around 7% of international seat capacity, but 2% is to/from the Caribbean. Central/South America accounts for 5% of IAG's international seats and just over 3% of its total seat capacity (70% of IAG's total seat numbers are international).

Thus, the market between Europe and Latin America ex Caribbean represents only a small part of each group's total business, but is a higher share of total capacity for IAG than it is for LATAM. Moreover, in absolute seat numbers, IAG has roughly double the capacity of LATAM on these routes. Nevertheless, they both bring a respectable share of this market into the deal.

Iberia will be biggest individual airline contributor by seats and number of routes

Among the operating airlines involved in the joint venture, IAG's Iberia is the largest by the number of seats deployed on Europe to Latin America ex Caribbean. Iberia's capacity in this market is almost three times that of TAM, and around four times that of BA and LAN (week of 18-Jan-2016, source: OAG).

Iberia's strength between Europe and Latin America is the reason for IAG's superiority relative to LATAM on these routes. Its 16% share of seats ranks it at number one, ahead of second placed Air France's 12%, and third ranked KLM's 10%.

Europe to Latin America ex Caribbean: airlines ranked by share of seats 4-Apr-2016 to 10-Apr-2016

Rank | Airline | Share of seats

01 - Iberia - 15.9%

02 - Air France - 12.3%

03 - KLM - 09.7%

04 - Lufthansa - 08.9%

05 - TAP Portugal - 08.8%

06 - Air Europa - 05.8%

07 - TAM Airlines - 05.6%

08 - Avianca - 04.5%

09 - British Airways - 04.4%

10 - LAN Airlines - 03.9%

11 - Alitalia - 03.0%

12 - Aeromexico - 02.7%

13 - Thomson Airways - 02.4%

14 - Aerolineas Argentinas - 02.0%

15 - Condor Flugdienst - 01.5%

00 - All others - 08.5%

Source: CAPA - Centre for Aviation, OAG

Iberia operates 17 routes between Europe and Latin America ex Caribbean, compared with five for each of BA and TAM, and four for LAN. Iberia is the biggest operator by seat numbers on 13 of its 17 routes.

BA is number one on three of its five routes, and number two only to its prospective JV partner TAM on one route, Heathrow-São Paolo. This is the only one of TAM's five routes to Europe on which it is the leading airline, while its sister airline LAN is number one on two of its four routes.

Europe- Latin America ex Caribbean: routes operated by IAG 18-Jan-2016 to 24-Jan-2016

Europe airport | South America airport | IAG share of seats on route | IAG rank by seats on route | Airlines operating route

Iberia routes

Madrid - Mexico City Juarez - 59% - 01 - Iberia, Aeromexico

Madrid - Buenos Aires Ezeiza - 49% - 01 - Iberia, Air Europa, Aerolineas Argentinas

Madrid - Lima Jorge Chavez - 40% - 01 - Iberia, Air Europa, LAN

Madrid - San Jose Juan Santamaria - 100% - 01 -

Madrid - Bogota El Dorado - 41% - 02 - Avianca, Iberia

Madrid - Santiago - 47% - 02 - LAN, Iberia

Madrid - Panama City Tocumen - 100% - 01

Madrid - Sao Paulo Guarulhos - 44% - 01 - Iberia, Air Europa, TAM, Air China

Madrid - Rio de Janeiro Galeão - 100% - 01

Madrid - Quito Mariscal Sucre - 100% - 01

Madrid - Montevideo Carrasco - 56% - 01 - Iberia, Air Europa

Madrid - Caracas Simon Bolivar - 38% - 01 - Iberia, Air Europa, Conviasa

Madrid - Guayaquil - 64% - 01 - Iberia, LAN

Madrid - San Salvador - 100% - 01

Madrid - Guatemala City La Aurora - 100% - 01

Madrid - Medellin Jose Maria Cordova - 63% - 01 - Iberia, Avianca

Madrid - Cali Alfonso Bonilla Aragon - 40% - 02 - Avianca, Iberia

BA routes

London Heathrow - Sao Paulo Guarulhos - 46% - 02 - TAM, BA

London Heathrow - Mexico City Juarez - 56% - 01 - BA, Aeromexico

London Heathrow - Rio de Janeiro Galeão - 100% - 01

London Heathrow - Buenos Aires Ezeiza - 100% - 01

London Gatwick - Cancun - 22% - 03 - Thomson, Virgin, BA, Thomas Cook

Note: routes shown in bold are operated by both IAG and LATAM airlines

Source: CAPA - Centre for Aviation, OAG

Europe- Latin America ex Caribbean: routes operated by LATAM Airlines Group 18-Jan-2016 to 24-Jan-2016

Europe airport | South America airport | LATAM share of seats on route | LATAM rank by seats on route | Airlines operating route

TAM routes

London Heathrow - Sao Paulo Guarulhos - 54% - 01 - TAM, BA

Paris Charles de Gaulle - Sao Paulo Guarulhos - 40% - 02 - Air France

Frankfurt - Sao Paulo Guarulhos - 50% - 02 - Lufthansa

Madrid - Sao Paulo Guarulhos - 24% - 03 - Iberia, Air Europa, TAM, Air China

Barcelona - Sao Paulo Guarulhos - 43% - 02 - Singapore Airlines, TAM

LAN routes

Madrid - Santiago - 53% - 01 - LAN, Iberia

Milan Malpensa - Sao Paulo Guarulhos - 100% - 01

Madrid - Lima Jorge Chavez - 26% - 03 - Iberia, Air Europa, LAN

Madrid - Guayaquil Jose Joaquin de Olmedo - 36% - 02 - Iberia, LAN

Note: routes shown in bold are operated by both IAG and LATAM airlines

Source: CAPA - Centre for Aviation, OAG

Five overlapping routes will receive the most regulatory scrutiny

There are five routes currently operated by airlines from both IAG and LATAM (see table below).

On three of these routes, existing schedules give a monopoly to the proposed JV. On London Heathrow to São Paulo, TAM and BA control 100% of seats between them, while both Madrid-Santiago and Madrid-Guayaquil are operated only by LAN and Iberia. On the other two routes of overlap between IAG and LATAM, Madrid to São Paulo and Lima, the JV would control around two thirds of seats.

These overlap routes also include some of the largest in the market between Europe and Central/South America. Madrid-São Paulo is the biggest route by total seats, while Madrid-Lima is the fifth largest, Madrid-Santiago is number eight, Heathrow-São Paulo number ten.

Based on current schedules, the JV would control 100% of seats between the UK and Brazil, between Spain and Chile and between Spain and Ecuador. It would also have 64% of Spain-Brazil seats and 65% of Spain-Peru.

The five routes where both IAG and LATAM operate are likely to be the main focus for competition authorities when they are considering approval of the deal.

Europe- Latin America ex Caribbean: routes operated by both LATAM Airlines Group and IAG 18-Jan-2016 to 24-Jan-2016

Europe airport | South America airport | Combined LATAM/IAG share of seats | LATAM/IAG combined rank by seats on route | Airlines operating route

London Heathrow - Sao Paulo Guarulhos - 100% - 01 - TAM, BA

Madrid - Sao Paulo Guarulhos - 68% - 01 - Iberia, Air Europa, TAM, Air China

Madrid - Santiago - 100% - 01 - LAN, Iberia

Madrid - Lima Jorge Chavez - 66% - 01 - Iberia, Air Europa, LAN

Madrid - Guayaquil Jose Joaquin de Olmedo - 100% - 01 - Iberia, LAN

Source: CAPA - Centre for Aviation, OAG

Oneworld is currently number two on Europe-Central/South America, but JV brings additional advantages

IAG and LATAM together contribute more than 98% of oneworld seats between Europe and Central/South America, while fellow alliance member airberlin makes up less than 2%. SkyTeam is the biggest alliance in the market between Europe and Latin America ex Caribbean, with 37% of seats, ahead of oneworld on 30% and Star on 24%.

In itself, the proposed JV does not change the share of seats held by the oneworld alliance on routes between Europe and Latin America. Nevertheless, if approved by regulators, it would make oneworld the only alliance in this market operating with substantially all of its seats within a JV. The immunised JVs on the North Atlantic have provided their members with commercial advantages, enabling material unit revenue enhancements.

Together being number two by size, but being part of such a JV, should give the oneworld members a competitive boost, eroding SkyTeam's size-based advantage. The Star Alliance, already trailing in third place, now risks being further disadvantaged.

The oneworld alliance's position would be further enhanced by the LATAM/AA agreement. With the North Atlantic JV already well established, the ultimate goal could be to establish an immunised triangular JV between Europe, South America and North America.

Europe to Latin America ex Caribbean: airline alliances ranked by share of seats 4-Apr-2016 to 10-Apr-2016

Rank | Alliance | Share of seats

01 | Non aligned airlines | 09.5%

02 | Star Alliance | 23.7%

03 | oneworld | 30.2%

04 | SkyTeam | 36.6%

Total 100.0%

Source: CAPA - Centre for Aviation, OAG

SkyTeam and Star Alliance: copycat JVs could be possible

The IAG/LATAM agreement may prompt the other alliances to form similar JVs between Europe and South America, much as they have all done on the North Atlantic. They may also consider their options in terms of developing partnerships in the key domestic markets in Latin America.

The option available to SkyTeam, of forming a copycat joint venture similar to that now proposed within oneworld, appears fairly limited by comparison with the IAG/LATAM agreement.

Air France-KLM's Latin American SkyTeam partners across the mid/south Atlantic are Aeromexico and Aerolineas Argentinas. Aeromexico already participates in the SkyTeam JV on the North Atlantic, and so is unlikely to move the relevant routes into a South Atlantic partnership arrangement, but Aerolineas' small (2%) share of the market could potentially be included.

European SkyTeam members Air Europa, with 6% of the market, and Alitalia, with 3%, could also be added to Air France-KLM's 22%, but a joint venture with this membership would be very lopsided towards the European side, and would not significantly improve access to South American markets.

In the case of the Star Alliance the situation is similar, although it could add more than SkyTeam could from the South American end. The Lufthansa group has 10% of seats in the market in question. Avianca, Brazil's number four airline by seats, has just under 5% of seats on routes to Europe from Central/South America and is the only Latin American Star member operating in this market. Star member Copa does not serve Europe.

At the European end, the alliance also includes TAP Portugal, with a significant 9% share. Turkish Airlines has just over 1%, but seems unlikely to be involved in any JV on the South Atlantic, while Air China and Singapore Airlines have a very small share under fifth freedom rights.

SkyTeam and Star also have limited new options in Brazil's domestic market

In terms of developing their partnerships in the key domestic markets, indications are that SkyTeam and Star also have relatively limited options beyond their existing relationships. The biggest market in Latin America, both domestic and international, is Brazil, where the top four airlines Gol, TAM, Azul and Avianca Brazil control 99% of domestic seats.

SkyTeam's Air France-KLM has an equity sake in LCC Gol, Brazil's largest airline by seats. Air France-KLM and Gol also have a bilateral commercial partnership involving expanded codesharing, network coordination, joint sales activities and frequent flyer programme cooperation. US SkyTeam member Delta also has a stake in Gol and is working on developing a JV.

The disadvantage faced by SkyTeam relative to the proposed IAG/LATAM JV is that Gol does not operate across the Atlantic to Europe, and it is not a member of SkyTeam.

See related report: Air France-KLM back in operating profit. GOL purchase expands its partner options beyond SkyTeam

Star's Lufthansa has a limited codeshare with Avianca Brazil, but this does not currently take the LH code into the domestic market. Lufthansa will no doubt be discussing changing this and developing its relationship to gain an offline presence in Brazil's domestic market.

In some ways mirroring Delta's investment in Gol, Star alliance member United took a 5% stake in Brazil's Azul in Jun-2015. It also has a commercial agreement with Azul, involving codeshares on routes between Brazil and the US and in the Brazilian domestic market. If Star's European members, led by Lufthansa, are intending to improve their access to the Brazilian market, then Azul must also be on the list of potential partners.

Conclusion: if approved, the deal will be good for IAG and LATAM

The proposed joint business agreement between IAG and LATAM will require regulatory approval, and this could lead to some concessions. Moreover, all joint ventures of this nature need time to bed in, and for all sides to grow accustomed to one another. However, it should strengthen both groups' businesses on routes between Europe and Latin America.

The oneworld alliance, whose capacity between the two regions is mainly contributed by the airlines of these two groups, is not the biggest alliance on the South Atlantic.

However, the advantages of having capacity in a joint venture with regulatory approval should outweigh SkyTeam's current simpler advantage of merely being the largest. It appears that SkyTeam and the smaller Star Alliance have limited options in terms of a response.

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