Korean Air is expanding its presence in Latin America through cooperative agreements with LAN Airlines.
As the first step towards a working association, CEOs of both airlines signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) today in Santiago, Chile, where the 2004 APEC meeting is being held. The MOU outlines increased cooperation between the two airlines including code sharing and frequent flyer tie-ins. Code sharing on the Incheon~LA~Lima~Santiago route and frequent flyer programs are expected to begin in March 2005.
Korean Air’s new Manager of Passenger Sales & Marketing for Latin America Olaf Kaehlert said that as of September 2004, the number of travelers from Chile to Korea increased by a staggering 58%, revealing a significant jump in the volume of trade between the two countries.
“This traffic should increase as a result of the free trade agreement signed this spring between Korea and Chile. We’ll be in a better position to handle this opportunity than any other Asian airline”, Kaehlert said.
Kaehlert explained that Korean Air is aggressively marketing itself to the Latin American market because of its large North American operation. The airline has nine US gateways and non stop flights to Asia from Los Angeles, Atlanta, New York, Washington and Dallas, among other cities. “This is very attractive routing for Latin American travelers as well as Korean travelers to Latin America,” added Kaehlert.
“There are a lot of compatibilities between LAN and Korean Air as both carriers have a dominant position in their respective continents with convenient and frequent flights from hubs in Seoul and Santiago to other destinations in Asia and Latin America. Both carriers share common professional values and have a reputation for excellent service and special attention to the business traveler,” Kaehlert said.
LAN Airlines is one of Latin America’s leading airlines groups and includes LanDominicana, LanPeru and LanEcuador, serving 16 destinations in Chile, 7 destinations in Peru, two in Ecuador, plus nearly 20 other destinations in Latin America.
Codeshare flights will benefit Korean Air passengers by providing easier access to Lima and Santiago, capitals of Peru and Chile respectively. Korean Air passengers also will benefit from a joint frequent flyer program that will enable accrual of mileage points under one plan. In addition, the two airlines are also discussing the possibility of shared lounge access.
Korean Air Cargo is also in talks with LAN Cargo about possible codesharing and joint marketing agreements.