confirmed South American carrier TAM as a future member of its airline alliance, joining Air India and
Continental as members-in-waiting.
TAM will fill the
South American “white spot” in Star’s global coverage, replacing previous
Brazilian member Varig, which was ejected from the alliance in 2007 following bankruptcy
Star says it
expects the integration of TAM to take around 12-18 months, by which time it’s
likely both Continental (which is defecting from Skyteam) and Air India will
both have become full members. The announcement brings the total number of
current and future members of the alliance to 24, with the most recent
inauguration being Egyptair this summer (see online news July 10).
TAM currently offers a daily service from
London Heathrow to Sao Paulo, which competes with rival
Oneworld member British Airways. It also serves European routes including Madrid, Paris and Frankfurt, and will add a total of 36 new destinations to
the Star network.
Report by Mark Caswell