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TAM, the Brazilian airline which took over the Varig operation from Heathrow, has signed a memorandum of understanding with Lufthansa. Varig was a member of the Star Alliance and with Star now lacking a South American partner it seems likely that a full relationship will develop.
Initially, Lufthansa and TAM are instituting codeshare flights on national and international routes. Additionally, they are pondering the possibility of optimising their flight schedules, pooling their frequent flyer programmes and offering mutual access at each other”s airport lounges.
”We are delighted to have found with TAM a professional and reliable partner in the Brazil growth market,” said Lufthansa vice-president alliances, strategy and subsidiaries, G”tz Ahmelmann. ”Both carriers are noted for innovation, quality and dependability.”
For TAM CEO Marco Antonio Bologna, partnership with Lufthansa is part of a corporate strategy aimed at forging alliances with leading airlines in target markets. ”We will harness and expand potential synergies between the networks of the two airlines, and offer new flight options to customers both in Brazil and Germany,” added Ahmelmann.
The Lufthansa Group is currently operating 20 flights weekly between Sao Paulo and its three hubs in Frankfurt and Munich (Lufthansa) as well as Zurich (SWISS). Worldwide, Lufthansa serves 192 destinations in 78 countries.
TAM has been the leading carrier in the Brazilian market since July 2003 and its market share reached 50.7% in April. The Brazilian airline currently serves 49 destinations in the domestic market and additionally offers flights to a further 26 national destinations under agreements with regional airlines.
Among Brazilian carriers, TAM”s share of the international market stood at 69.7% in April. TAM lays on direct flights from Brazil to seven destinations: Buenos Aires, London, Miami, Milan, New York, Paris and Santiago de Chile. Within the next six months, TAM will commence connections to Montevideo and Caracas. As TAM Mercosur, the airline flies to Asunci”n and Ciudad del Este (Paraguay), Cordoba (Argentina), Montevideo (Uruguay), and Santa Cruz de la Sierra and Cochabamaba (Bolivia).
On the London route TAM flies daily using a three class Airbus A330 aircraft.