Big air travel news from South America: American Airlines has signed a new codeshare agreement with GOL, Brazil’s largest airline. Subject to regulatory approval, the new agreement will give American’s customers access to 20 new destinations across South America.
The new codeshare will allow American customers to connect to 53 GOL flights to other destinations in South America via Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Brasilia, Manaus and Fortaleza. The new destinations include Asuncion, Paraguay; Curitiba, Brazil and Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil. Additionally, the two airlines plan to link frequent flier earning and redemption soon after the deal is approved.
American said that, to support the new South American routes, it will add 12 new flights from six cities in the United States through Miami:
- Nashville, Tennessee
- Orlando, Florida
- Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina
- Tampa, Florida
The new flights will operate daily starting this summer. Additionally, this winter American will add an additional flight between Miami and Rio de Janeiro on a Boeing 787-8 aircraft, marking the airline’s first 787-8 to operate out of Miami. Two new flights on 777-200s are also planned for this winter to Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Santiago, Chile.
The new codeshare agreement is the latest move by one of the Big Three U.S. carriers to increase its presence in Latin America. Delta continues to expand on its investment in Chile-based LATAM Airlines group, which it announced last year and which prompted American Airlines to drop its codeshare agreement with LATAM. Most recently, LATAM relocated its operations at New York City – JFK from Terminal 8 to Terminal 4 to allow for speedier connections with Delta flights.
In December, Delta and LATAM’s affiliates in Peru, Colombia and Ecuador also signed new codeshare agreements. Two additional codeshares in Brazil and Chile are expected to happen during the first half of this year.
Brazil has been looking to expand travel from the United States with the introduction of a visa waiver program, which officially went into effect last June. In addition to allowing U.S. travelers to visit visa-free, the program also applies to travelers from Canada, Australia and Japan.
Under the program, travelers can visit Brazil without a visa if they are traveling for leisure and business tourism, artistic or sporting activities or in exceptional situations for national interest, as well as travelers in transit in the country. Stays can last up to 90 days, extendable for the same period if stays do not exceed 180 days every 12 months, counted from the date of the first entry into the country. One month after the program was announced, a study for Brazil Tourism by Amadeus showed confirmed trips from the United States up by 53 percent for the month of June, rising to an increase of 97 percent in July.