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With the news that the largest airline in Brazil, TAM will be joining their merger partners and “crossing the floor” and deflecting from Star to Oneworld, how do you think this will impact on the routes, services and business strategy of IAG and upcoming member Qatar Airlines?
Brazil has overtaken UK in the size of economy and whilst its growth rate is not as rampant as it was, it is a major regional and world player now.
TAM has a vast network internally,a comprehensive South American one, but has focused most of its long haul growth on North America. Europe has quite a few services, and it has avoided opportunities to do Australasia or Africa where there were Star Alliance partners to provide feed.
Sao Paulo GRU airport is totally full, with slots very hard to come by indeed for any new or even existing client airline. Rio GIG is not so full, and has seen many new services in recent years, as it is both a toursist, but also major business city as that is where the oil & gas companies are located.
From Europe it is only TAP that has a network to many other major regional business cities and tourist destinations.
So how do you think BA, Iberia and Qatar will resond to this opportunity?
Bear in mind that LAN and TAM have bases throughout the continent now, including Chile, Peru, Colombia etc.
I suggest that the one airline that will make the most of this is Qatar, who will I feel (once 787 issues are resolved) will open up to Bogota and major Brazil cities like Rio, Brasilia, Recife/Salvador & Belo Horizonte.
They will capture the pan Asian traffic and feed them through Doha onto the LATAM hubs
BA, being pretty slow at innovation and opportunity spotting these days, will I hope not be too slow off the mark, but should see that Bogota, Lima, Santiago and other Brazil cities would be even more viable than before, with the feed on and onward route networks.
It too can capture traffic from Russia & Asia and should be mindful of Qatar and other carriers capturing this traffic.
As GRU is full, and also in the far south, I think it would make sense for TAM and other Oneworld carriers to fly from Europe into a city like Recife, for connections throughout Brazil.
There is competition! GOL is the #2 carrier, and Air France/KLM is growing robustly in the continent,and AF will commence Brasilia flights by next year. I can see A380s going from CDG and to GIG. GOL could well go into Skyteam.
As it is BA and IB only serve Rio and Sao Paulo, and I believe QR only have GRU.
So as a tourist, business traveller or shareholder in an airline, what changes would you like to see, and what changes do you think will actually happen?