Brazil's market primed for growth as LATAM adds European routes

LATAM Airlines has signalled its intention to expand its European footprint with flights to Munich at a time when Brazil’s aviation market looks primed to take off again.

Munich is set to be added to LATAM Airlines Brazil’s route map during 2019 as the carrier continues to expand its international network.

The airline said it hopes to start serving the Bavarian capital from São Paulo during the first half of next year, subject to regulatory approvals.

If the planned route goes ahead, it will be the carrier’s second destination in Germany after Frankfurt and its ninth European city.

In March, the oneworld member added Rome Fiumicino to its network from São Paolo Guarulhos, with a three-weekly service. It also flies to Milan Malpensa, Madrid, Barcelona, London Heathrow and Paris Charles de Gaulle.

In addition, LATAM Airlines Brazil has opened reservations for its São Paolo Guarulhos-Lisbon flight, beginning on 2 September 2018. The route will be operated by Boeing 767 aircraft, offering 191 seats in Economy and 30 in Premium Business.

“We continue to offer new and unrivalled travel options, connecting Latin America with the world like never before,” said Enrique Cueto, chief executive of LATAM Airlines Group.

“Over the past two years, not only has LATAM launched an unprecedented 30 international services – including new destinations in Europe, North America and Oceania – we are also strengthening existing routes with more frequencies and connection options.”

LATAM Airlines Brazil’s international two-way seats and frequencies from Brazil (2008-17):

The new flights to Europe are being launched amid growing momentum for Brazil’s aviation industry as the country continues to recover from its worst ever recession.

In May, president Michel Temer signed off the country’s open skies agreement with the US, allowing for increased air services and greater competition between airlines.

According to figures from OAG, summer 2018 (March-October) capacity in Brazil is up by 8.9 percent from the previous year to 90.2 million seats, with the four major carriers – GOL, LATAM, Azul Airlines and Avianca – all increasing capacity significantly year-on-year.

Speaking to the latest issue of Routes News, OAG senior analyst John Grant said: “The most notable growth over the last five seasons has come from Azul Airlines, which despite the general market conditions has doubled its capacity to nearly 18 million seats for the summer period.

“Equally, both GOL and LATAM have yet to reach the same levels of production as offered in summer 2012.”

Grant added: “Across the Brazilian airports Sao Paulo Guarulhos has performed very well, both over the last five years and in comparison to the previous summer season, with a 17.7 percent increase in capacity year-on-year.

“Many of the secondary cities in Brazil have still to reach the levels of capacity reported in summer 2012, most notably Salvador, which is down 27.9 percent, and Belem, down 25 percent, while Brasilia, the capital city, is still some 3.1 percent below the 2012 level.”

Looking at capacity to Europe, OAG figures show the total number of two-way seats dropped by 4.8 percent in 2017 to 6.99 million. However, the total is set to jump by 17.4 percent this year to 8.2 million.

European markets from Brazil during H1 2018 by capacity share (%):

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