LATAM Airlines Group has named oneworld as its global alliance partner. LATAM executives made the announcement on March 7 at the oneworld meeting in Hong Kong. With the move, LATAM’s TAM Airlines will join oneworld effective in the second quarter of 2014. At that time, TAM will withdraw from Star Alliance.
TAM will officially join oneworld immediately upon leaving Star Alliance, after which TAM passengers will be eligible to accumulate kilometers and points on oneworld airlines. TAM fliers will continue to receive Star Alliance benefits through the transition period. LAN Airlines, the other major LATAM airline, is already a oneworld member. LATAM’s airlines serve 150 destinations in 22 countries in Central and South American and the Caribbean.
Passengers registered with TAM’s frequent-flyer program will retain their Star Alliance kilometers and points earned from member airlines, and also maintain their respective frequent-flyer status during and after the transition period. LAN and TAM will “proactively” inform passengers of any changes, said LATAM officials.
The addition of TAM also will add “the leading airline in Latin America’s largest economy and biggest country for air travel demand, Brazil” to oneworld’s portfolio, according to oneworld.
“We chose the alliance that offers the best benefits to our passengers, in addition to the best connectivity and products, as well as the greater synergies for LATAM Airlines Group,” said Enrique Cueto, LATAM’s CEO.
LATAM further announced that LAN Colombia will become a oneworld affiliate member in the fourth quarter of 2013. LAN Colombia will join LAN Argentina, LAN Ecuador and LAN Peru as oneworld members. Current oneworld members include airberlin, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LAN, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Royal Jordanian and S7 Airlines, plus 30 affiliates. SriLankan Airlines and Qatar Airways are pending oneworld members.