Alaska Airlines and Delta will end their codeshare
partnership on April 30.
The announcement came five days after Alaska completed its
$2.6 billion acquisition of Virgin America, a move that jumped it ahead of
JetBlue to the fifth-largest U.S. carrier.
The partnership between the carriers had already been
shrinking steadily in recent years with Delta competing aggressively with
Alaska in Seattle. Delta said it has more than tripled its flights and
destinations from Seattle since 2013.
Meanwhile, Alaska's revenue from its codeshare agreement
with Delta has dropped from $190 million to $65 million since 2014, the airline
reported in an SEC filing on Dec. 6.
"This should not come as a surprise as our relationship
has become increasingly competitive over the last few years," Alaska
managing director of alliances Charles Breer said of the coming end to the
Delta-Alaska codeshare deal. "Given our own growth and expansion, Alaska
Airlines now can take people virtually everywhere they need to go."
Though Alaska and Delta will no longer codeshare, they will
maintain an interline agreement that provides ticketing and baggage
connectivity. But beginning with travel on May 1, Delta SkyMiles members can no
longer accrue or redeem points for flights on Alaska and Alaska Mileage Plan
members can't redeem or accrue miles on Delta flights.
The end of the codeshare deal could be a good sign for
consumers. As part of its approval of the Alaska-Virgin America merger,
antitrust regulators at the Department of Justice required Alaska to scale back
its codeshare agreement with American Airlines, primarily on routes in which
the carriers either compete now or are likely to compete in the future.
Monday's break between Alaska and Delta could signal that
the enlarged Alaska Airlines is serious about growing its nationwide network,
since it won't be replacing American codeshare flights with Delta codeshares.