South American airlines LAN Chile and Brazil’s TAM have completed their merger to create the biggest carrier in the continent.
The intended merger was first announced in 2010 and Brazil’s competition authorities gave permission for the deal to go ahead at the end of last year.
Both airlines will continue to operate under their existing brands but will now both be part of the LATAM Airlines Group which will initially offer flights to a total of 150 destinations in 22 countries.
Enrique Cueto, currently CEO of LAN, takes the top role of executive vice-president and CEO with the new LATAM Group.
He said: “The creation of this group of airlines is an opportunity to take South America to the world and to allow us to position ourselves to operate in an increasingly competitive environment due to the continuing consolidation of the global airline industry.”
Mauricio Rolim Amaro, vice chairman of TAM, added: “The growth LATAM Airlines Group is expected to generate will allow us to offer our customers’ flights to new destinations, create more opportunities for our more than 51,000 employees, and offer greater value for shareholders.
“In addition, we can support the economic, social and cultural development of our region, improving the connectivity of passengers and cargo in South America and to the rest of the world.”
Report by Rob Gill