American Airlines keeps playing Delta’s ‘greater fool’.
Delta has had an India strategy, so it makes sense they don’t want Qatar, Emirates, and Etihad expanding in the U.S. or offering low prices. They’re partnering closely with Jet Airways, a relationship they took out from under American.
Meanwhile American signed on to Delta’s lobbying campaign against those three Middle Eastern airlines — and for good measure rejected a bid from Qatar to buy a stake in American and even went so far as to announce the termination of their codeshare relationships with Etihad and Qatar, depriving themselves of their own reach into India, Pakistan and the surrounding region.
Delta bought a stake into the most heavily subsidized Chinese airline, China Eastern, despite objecting to competition from subsidized airlines. That’s it’s big play in China.
Since other airlines take to basically copying Delta’s strategies American bought a stake in China Southern. I wrote yesterday that that didn’t seem to be working out as well for American as hoped. They’re launching only a fraction of the codeshares anticipating in their DOT filing a year ago. And now we know why… Delta.
China Southern is a member of SkyTeam. Delta has pretty much told them to kiss off from the alliance now that they’re getting closer to American and Delta has chosen China Eastern as its bride instead.
Nonetheless since China Southern is still in SkyTeam it turns out they’re subject to limits on codesharing outside the alliance. That means the alliance can prevent them from growing the hoped-for American Airlines codeshares.
That’s not a Delta decision alone, but Delta has joints ventures with or stakes in SkyTeam members Air France, KLM, Alitalia, China Eastern and Korean. They exercise tremendous weight in the alliance and have checkmated American’s growth in China through its own ownership stake, at least pending China Southern’s departure from SkyTeam (which would require Cathay Pacific’s assent if it were to enter oneworld).
One wonders how long it will be until American realizes that following Delta’s lead, and copying their moves, doesn’t make for a great strategy. American seems to be playing checkers while Delta is playing chess.
(HT: One Mile at a Time)