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Varig says its experience of launching Rome and Paris services leads to believe it will replicate the success on the new London route.
Launched this week, the London-Sao Paulo-Rio de Janeiro services using Boeing 767-300ER aircraft, will be configured with 30 business class and 188 economy class seating.
”We started Rome and Paris with a 60% load factor in the first month,” said Varig president and CEO Constantino de Oliveira Junior, ”which was a good surprise for us.
”There is also TAM to London and Virgin has plans to launch to Brazil. We strongly believe that there is a competitive environment on this route ” there is room for all these airlines and even four flights a day to Sao Paulo.”
Business class passengers departing Heathrow T2 ” 22:05 ” will have access to the Alitalia lounge ” while on the return leg from Brazil ” 20:30 - this will be through Varig”s VIP lounges in Sao Paulo and Rio.
And despite Oliveira ruling out immediate inclusion in any alliance structure, noting that Varig was ”discussing an interline agreement with many major carriers,” he did not eliminate a future venture: ”We are still open for a new alliance,” he said.
Varig says it expects to break even by the third quarter of next year, as further long-haul services come on stream. London is the latest addition to Frankfurt, Rome, Paris, while Mexico City and Madrid and the US are in the pipeline.