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LATAM picks oneworld as its global alliance

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Written by editor

SANTIAGO, Chile – LATAM Airlines Group has chosen oneworld® to be its global alliance for all its airlines.

SANTIAGO, Chile – LATAM Airlines Group has chosen oneworld® to be its global alliance for all its airlines. With this decision – announced on 7 March at a oneworld meeting in Hong Kong – TAM Airlines will now become a member of oneworld, joining LAN Airlines and 11 other member airlines, including British Airways.

TAM Airlines will join oneworld, the leading alliance for flights within Latin America and from the region to both Europe and the United States (three of the most in demand international destinations for LATAM Airlines Group’s passengers), and with a strong presence in the Asia/Pacific region as well.

With its oneworld partners, along with the other airlines lining up to join the alliance, LATAM will be able to offer its clients more than 950 airport destinations across 160 countries, on the 13,000 daily departures operated by the alliance members. oneworld airlines currently transport 480 million passengers annually using a combined fleet of over 3,300 aircraft and providing access to 550 VIP lounges across the five continents. LATAM Airlines Group’s network of destinations will increase access and connections between South America and the world.

TAM will withdraw from the Star Alliance during the second quarter of 2014, on a date to be announced later in 2013. The airline plans to officially join oneworld as soon as it leaves Star Alliance. From that date, TAM passengers will be able to accumulate kilometres/points by flying on any oneworld member airline. Until then, they will continue to receive the benefits offered by the Star Alliance.

Frequent flyer passengers will retain the kilometres/points accumulated from flying with Star Alliance member airlines as well as maintain their respective frequent flyer status during and after the transition period, provided they are registered with the TAM Fidelidade program. LAN and TAM will proactively inform their passengers of any changes in the process.
“We have evaluated all the existing possibilities and chose the alliance that offers the best benefits to our passengers, in addition to the best connectivity and products, as well as the greatest synergies for the LATAM Airlines Group. We are very happy with our decision,” says Enrique Cueto, CEO, LATAM Airlines Group. “With the incorporation of the LATAM Airlines Group in to oneworld, passengers flying with us will be able to book trips through the oneworld network of destinations and connect from any of the 950 destinations, including the likes of Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Moscow or Melbourne, through oneworld member airlines.”

TAM Airlines and TAM S.A. CEO Marco Antonio Bologna adds that the decision to join oneworld “is important news for TAM passengers and we are focused on ensuring a smooth transition to the company, for our partners, and, most importantly, our clients”. According to Bologna, TAM “is joining a growing alliance, that is able to offer the best connection options to our passengers.”

TAM’s move will add to the oneworld portfolio of carriers the leading airline in Latin America’s largest economy and biggest country for air travel demand, Brazil. With the entire LATAM group flying as part of oneworld, the alliance will enjoy a position of leadership throughout South America and in virtually all of its main business centres.

oneworld’s CEO, Bruce Ashby, said: “We are delighted that, after its comprehensive review of alliance options, LATAM not only decided to have LAN remain on board oneworld, but also to include TAM and all the other passenger airline subsidiaries in the LATAM group as well. This solidifies oneworld’s long-standing position as the alliance leader in Latin America and provides an even more attractive proposition for frequent international travellers the world over. We look forward to working with LATAM to ensure a smooth transition to oneworld.”

Currently, oneworld members include airberlin, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LAN, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Royal Jordanian and S7 Airlines, as well as 30 affiliates. SriLankan Airlines and Qatar Airways are in the process of joining the alliance.

During the event in Hong Kong on 7 March, the executives also announced the entry of LAN Colombia in to oneworld as an affiliate member. This will also occur during the fourth quarter of 2013, when it will join other LAN affiliate airlines LAN Argentina, LAN Ecuador and LAN Peru, reaffirming LAN’s 13-year membership in oneworld.

oneworld is currently the holder of three leading international awards for airline alliances – named the Best Airline Alliance by Global Traveler in its GT Tested Reader Survey 2012 Awards for the third year running, the World’s Leading Airline Alliance in the 2012 World Travel Awards for the 10th year running, and Australian Business Traveller Best Airline Alliance in 2012 for the second year running. oneworld also received the debut alliance Flight Stats On-Time Performance Award for the alliance whose members had the best on-time record in 2012.

With the choice of oneworld, the LATAM Airlines Group continues to comply – within the required timeframe – with one of the conditions imposed by Chilean Antitrust Authority (Tribunal de Defensa de la Libre Competencia – TDLC) and the Brazilian antitrust authority (CADE) for the merger between LAN and TAM.