FILE PHOTO: Passengers wait to check in for their flights at the departure area of Latam airlines inside of the Commodore Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport in Santiago, Chile April 25, 2019. REUTERS/Rodrigo Garrido/File Photo
SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Shares in LATAM Airlines Group (LTM.SN) surged more than 30% at the market open on Friday, the day after Delta Air Lines (DAL.N) said it would buy a 20% stake in the company for $1.9 billion, creating a major new airline partnership and ending the Chilean carrier’s ties with American Airlines.(AAL.O)
LATAM shares were up by 33% within an hour of Santiago’s blue-chip IPSA’s stock exchange opening. U.S.-listed shares were up 39.3% before the market opened.
The surprise deal with Latin America’s largest carrier will give Delta a much bigger footprint in the region, a growth market in which LATAM flies to dozens of destinations including cities in Argentina, Peru and Brazil.
The LATAM deal is Delta’s largest since it merged with Northwest Airlines a decade ago.
Reporting by Aislinn Laing; Editing by David Gregorio