Delta will end its partnership with Gol and LATAM will drop out of the Oneworld alliance, both as a result of Delta and LATAM's industry-altering partnership

Meanwhile, Delta and LATAM expect to begin codesharing on routes between the U.S. and South America as soon as late this year, each said on conference calls Friday morning. The existing codeshare agreement between LATAM and American remains in place for now but will wind down over the next few months, LATAM chief commercial officer Roberto Alvo said. 

Delta and LATAM caught the airline industry by surprise Thursday when they announced that Delta would invest $1.9 billion and $16 per share to acquire 20% of LATAM. The financial commitment is the largest Delta has made in another carrier since its 2008 merger with Northwest, CEO Ed Bastian said. 

As part of the alliance, the carriers plan to pursue an antitrust-immune joint venture, though they expect approval to take up to two years. 

LATAM, the largest airline in Latin America, has subsidiaries in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay and Peru.

The move strikes directly at American Airlines, until now a Oneworld partner of LATAM's that had sought a joint venture with the carrier, but its proposal was blocked in May by the Chilean Supreme Court. 

American has leveraged its well-placed hubs in Miami and Dallas/Fort Worth, as well as its partnership with LATAM, to be the leading U.S. airline in South America. But Delta will now strive to claim that position. 

According to airline data analytics company OAG, American has 26.3% market share in South America. LATAM has 20.6%, followed by Avianca at 12.4%, United at 11.8% and Delta at 8%.

Bastian said Friday that South America is the region that holds the greatest growth potential for Delta. The U.S.-South America aviation market is worth $8 billion annually and makes up 10% of the U.S. international market, he said. 

"The deal presented itself," Bastian said. "When you have opportunities and you have the capability to move, you move."

Delta already holds stakes in Air France-KLM, Aeromexico, China Eastern, Korean Air and Virgin Atlantic.

In addition, it holds a 9.5% stake in Brazil's Gol, a LATAM competitor. But as a result of the LATAM deal, Delta will "regrettably" exit that partnership, Bastian said.

Similarly, LATAM will leave Oneworld as a result of the deal with Delta. However, the carrier will maintain existing bilateral partnerships with Oneworld airlines British Airways and Iberia while splitting with American.

Executives at Delta and LATAM said they don't expect to run into the same challenges with regulators that LATAM and American did in their attempt to form a joint venture. They said that while the American and LATAM networks have substantial overlap through Miami and elsewhere, Delta and LATAM currently compete on just one route -- Sao Paulo to New York. That route will be left out of the proposed joint venture, said LATAM CEO Enrique Cueto Plaza.

"So we believe the approval process will be well-received," he said.

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