LATAM moves closer to American and IAG

Deals with South American giant strengthen connectivity
South American giant LATAM Airlines signed joint business agreements last week with both American Airlines and IAG, owner of British Airways and Iberia, in a move that will strengthen connectivity with North America and Europe.
The deals between the oneworld alliance partners and the Chilean-Brazilian airline will give passengers on all sides easier access to hundreds of destinations served by the carriers British Airways and Iberia.
The agreements are subject to regulatory approval, which could take 12 to 18 months.
“This is excellent news for Latin America. Through these two agreements, we seek to significantly improve the benefits to our clients by providing them with greater connectivity between South America and the United States/Canada and also between South America and Europe,” LATAM chief executive Enrique Cueto said in a statement.
“This step is necessary to offer the best network of connections for everyone in Latin America and increases the possibility of adding new routes and direct flights to new destinations as well as flights already operated by LATAM and affiliates in the future.”
American and IAG will gain access to more than 100 destinations through LATAM. The US carrier’s joint business agreement with LATAM will cover routes in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay. IAG’s LATAM deal include routes in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay.
IAG CEO Willie Walsh noted in a statement that the group already has a close relationship with LATAM, something he has long wanted to expand further.
“This joint business would benefit customers by providing them with easier journeys to more destinations with better aligned schedules and increased frequencies. This would boost both tourism and business travel between South America and Europe.”
The Latin American carrier stresses that the deals will boost its planned hub in north-eastern Brazil, which it plans for improving connectivity to Europe. Three cities are shortlisted for the hub’s location, which will finally be announced in the coming months.
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