American Airlines Announces Further Latin American Expansion

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Richard Maslen

Richard Maslen,
Editor, Routesonline

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American Airlines Announces Further Latin American Expansion

US major American Airlines has outlined plans to further expand its presence in Latin America with new services into Brazil and Colombia as part of an enhanced commercial partnership with LATAM Airlines Group.  The carrier has also signed an agreement to enter a codeshare partnership with Sao Paulo-based TAM Airlines and Bogota-based LAN Colombia which when approved will provide expanded opportunities for American to serve new markets in Brazil and Colombia and for the LATAM partners in the US.

The arrangement will act as solid stepping stone in building a stronger bilateral relationship between American and LATAM Airlines Group and the US operator has confirmed its intent to introduce new direct flights between Dallas/Fort Worth and the Colombian capital Bogota and from Miami International to the Brazilian cities of Curitiba and Porto Alegre.  These flights are expected to commence in late 2013 but no official launch date has yet been agreed.

“American's new partnerships with TAM and LAN Colombia further strengthen our longstanding relationship with LATAM Airlines Group, Latin America's largest and most premier airline group,” said Virasb Vahidi, chief commercial officer, American Airlines.  “As we continue to expand our presence in Latin America, the new routes to Brazil and Colombia are a direct response to the increasing customer demand for travel between the US and Latin America.”

The US carrier already has a strong presence in the Brazilian and Colombian markets.  The new route between Dallas/Fort Worth and Bogota will complement Amercan’s existing links from Miami, which include up to 35 weekly departures to Bogota, Cali and Medellin.  American also currently offers the most services between North America and Brazil with links from Miami to Belo Horizonte, Brasilia, Manaus, Recife, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador and Sao Paulo; from New York JFK to Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo; and from Dallas/Fort Worth to Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. In addition, early next year the Dallas/Fort Worth – Sao Paulo flight will feature American's new Boeing 777-300ERs.

Once the codeshare agreements are added to the direct flights, American’s passengers will have even more connection opportunities across South America.  At the same time, this partnership will allow TAM and LAN Colombia's customers access to new destinations in the US such as Boston, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Las Vegas and Seattle.  TAM operates nearly 5,600 weekly flights to 42 destinations throughout Brazil as well as 18 international destinations in the US, Latin America and Europe.  LAN Colombia, meanwhile, operates more than 930 weekly flights to cities throughout Colombia as well as destinations in Brazil and the US.  From its Bogota hub, LAN Colombia offers 134 daily flights, including service to 20 Colombian cities.

In the table below we look at seat capacity by airline between the US and South America this year and how this has changed over the past three years.  American Airlines is by far the largest carrier in this market with a 35.1 per cent share of available seats this year, up 8.9 per cent on 2011.  Strong growth is also clear at LAN Peru, Santa Barbara Airlines and TAM Airlines, while United Airlines has seen a notable growth in capacity, partly due to the amalgamation of the Continental and United networks under a single operating brand.

SCHEDULED AIR CAPACITY BETWEEN UNITED STATES AND SOUTH AMERICA (non-stop departures; 2012)

Rank

Airline

Departures

Seat Capacity

% Network Capacity

Capacity Change (vs 2011)

Capacity Change (vs 2010)

1

American Airlines (AA)

13,549

2,838,820

35.1 %

8.9 %

10.9 %

2

Delta Air Lines (DL)

4,644

909,454

11.2 %

2.4 %

5.7 %

3

United Airlines (UA)

4,570

872,976

10.8 %

158.7 %

237.9 %

4

TAM Airlines (JJ)

3,689

835,051

10.3 %

14.4 %

34.6 %

5

Avianca (AV)

4,004

613,346

7.6 %

4.4 %

(-3.7) %

6

LAN Airlines (LA)

2,006

445,961

5.5 %

5.7 %

4.6 %

7

LAN Peru (LP)

1,131

265,785

3.3 %

20.8 %

51.6 %

8

Santa Barbara Airlines (S3)

1,075

216,872

2.7 %

18.5 %

47.0 %

9

LAN Ecuador (XL)

848

201,824

2.5 %

(-9.5) %

(-0.9) %

10

Spirit Airlines (NK)

1,067

174,779

2.2 %

8.2 %

(-9.8) %

TOTAL

40,926

8,094,011

-

7.3 %

8.8 %

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