Delta Expands South American Service From New York

Credit: Rob Finlayson

Delta Air Lines has confirmed two long-haul additions from New York John F Kennedy (JFK) with the launch of flights to Argentina’s capital Buenos Aires and the resumption of service to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil after an absence of more than three years.

The airline applied to the U.S. Transportation Department (DOT) in January for broad authority to serve the U.S.-Argentina market to complement its long-standing year-round flights from Atlanta.

The SkyTeam alliance member said approval would give it the “flexibility to potentially add additional new flights as market conditions warrant,” starting with a new route from New York. The DOT approved the request on Jan. 25.

Service between New York JFK and Buenos Aires Ezeiza will begin on Oct. 28, subject to government approval. The 8,528-km (4,605-nm) sector will be served daily on a seasonal basis using Boeing 767-400 aircraft.

The New York-Buenos Aires city pair is served nonstop by two carriers at the present time, offering a combined 5,454 two-way weekly seats. For the week commencing Feb. 6, American Airlines provides daily JFK-EZE service using 777-200/200ERs, while Aerolineas Argentinas operates 3X-weekly Airbus A330 flights. American has a 70% capacity share of the market.

Alongside the Buenos Aires route, Delta intends to restart flying from New York JFK to Rio de Janeiro Galeão (GIG). The airline previously served the cities during the northern winter seasons in 2017, 2018 and 2019, providing flights until the onset of the pandemic in March 2020.

Service will again be seasonal, operating daily from Dec. 16 using 767-300 aircraft. The flights will provide competition for American’s 3X-weekly JFK-GIG operations, which are scheduled to run until the end of the winter 2022/23 season and return for winter 2023/24.

Delta already offers daily flights between JFK and São Paulo-Guarulhos (GRU); 2X-daily from Atlanta (ATL) to São Paulo; and seasonal service between Atlanta and Rio de Janeiro. The airline said the resumption of JFK-GIG would build on its joint venture with LATAM Airlines Group, which secured final approval in October 2022.

LATAM currently connects São Paulo to four U.S. gateways—Boston (BOS), Miami (MIA), New York JFK and Orlando (MCO)—with a Los Angeles (LAX) route beginning on July 1. GRU-LAX flights will be 3X-weekly using 777-300ERs, becoming the sole nonstop service between Brazil and Los Angeles.

The market was last linked nonstop in March 2020 by American Airlines—LATAM’s former partner—but the route has not returned to the Dallas-Fort Worth-based carrier’s network since the pandemic.

David Casey

David Casey is Editor in Chief of Routes, the global route development community's trusted source for news and information.