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Chile's LAN and Brazil's TAM form LATAM, biggest airline in South America

  27.06.2012    

Chile's Linea Aerea Nacional (LAN) Airlines and Brazil's Transportes Aereos del Mercosur have merged, forming LATAM Airlines Group, the biggest air carrier in South America, reports Atlanta-area Air Cargo World.
Each airline will operate from their present headquarters and under separate brands for a time.
According to a joint statement, the combined LAN Cargo, which has three smaller affiliate carriers, and TAM Cargo will now be able to offer routings to 169 cities worldwide.
"This is the beginning of a long journey, and the benefits to our customers will be added gradually as the integration of our companies progresses," said former LAN chief executive Enrique Cueto, now CEO of LATAM.
Wider service reach is the key to the merger, mooted since August 2010, with the companies agreeing in principle in January 2011 and regulatory approval completed in May.
LAN posted a 21.8 per cent first quarter profit decline to US$76.1 million year on year. At the time, LAN said it expected that cargo capacity will grow less than five per cent this year.
Merger costs are estimated at up to $200 million, but this is expected to be offset by joint revenues of up to $700 million over the next four years. More than half of this money will come from cargo and passenger revenue increases.


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