Star has 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 proceedings.
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