As Delta turns the page to 2016, the airline's goals for next year include building on its growing momentum in Latin America and the Caribbean, a key market for leisure and business travelers. We recently spoke with Nicolas Fern, Delta's Vice-President Latin America and the Caribbean about progress made in 2015 and what's in store for the region in 2016.
Where do you see the greatest areas of organic growth for the rest of the year and on 2016?
Nicolas Ferri: 2015 has been a year of success for the region and we will close it with the launch of 3 routes on Dec. 19 to add the organic growth done in Central America and Caribbean. Our capacity in Latin America and the Caribbean has increased year over year by 6 percent and our plans for 2016 call for an additional 3 percent growth.
Brazil is a crucial market for Delta and we are working diligently to ensure the success of the Sao Paulo to Orlando flight, which already is performing strongly. In South America, Colombia presents another area of growth thanks to two routes connecting Atlanta to Medellin and to Cartagena. We have received excellent support from agency partners, have created alliances with local brands to promote the flights and we are starting the year with sold-out flights and we will work diligently to ensure the success of these operations.
Growth via strategic alliances is crucial for the region's 2016 goals. Where do you see the biggest opportunity and what are the top challenges?
NF: Aeromexico is crucial to Delta's success in 2016 and beyond. There is a lot of excitement about the growth that the transborder market would represent with an expanded alliance with Aeromexico, and we could not have better partners in Mexico than the country's flagship airline. Our recent announcement of intent of purchase was very well received and is under evaluation by Aeromexico's Board of Directors. Open Skies and the approval of anti-trust immunity will allow Delta and Aeromexico the opportunity to expand their commercial operations and better serve the transborder market.
There are always areas of growth when it comes to integrating two distinct business cultures, but Delta and Aeromexico have over 20 years of successful collaboration. Every one of our actions is always centered on the customer's needs. For the time being, we are waiting for the Mexican Senate to ratify the liberalized U.S.-Mexico air services agreement. In other words, the process is in the hands of the Mexican...