TAM signed a memorandum of understanding to acquire 22 Airbus A350 XWB (Xtra Wide Body), models 800 and 900, with 10 more options, to be delivered between 2013 and 2018.The company will be the first in Latin America to have these new aircraft in its long haul fleet.
In addition to the A350s, TAM also confirmed it was exercising four more A330 options, which will be delivered by the manufacturer in 2010 (two planes) and 2011 (two planes).
According to the price list, the total value of the 22 A350 aircraft and four A330s is around US$ 5.4 billion.
The large A350-800 and 900 aircraft will begin commercial flights in 2013, and will be equipped with all of the new technology developed for the A380.
TAM’s CEO, Marco Antonio Bologna, stated that the new contract with Airbus confirms the company’s strategic planning, for growth in the international long-distance market. “We reiterate our commitment to maintain a new and modern fleet, in order to offer a quality product to our passengers,” he said.
“To have a customer like TAM confirm its choice for the A350 XWB is a matter of pride for us,” said Rafael Alonso, Senior Vice President, Latin America, Caribbean and Spain for Airbus. “We are thankful for this strong endorsement of the A350 XWB programme and we are pleased to accompany TAM’s successful expansion with the A330s on its long-haul network. We are delighted with this long-standing partnership with TAM and look forward to continuing this relationship in the future.”
With the delivery of the four A330s by 2011, TAM will increase its fleet plan, ending 2010 with 138 aircraft in operation and finishing 2011 with 143.
TAM has greatly increased its share on international routes. It ended May with a 72.4% share of the market, among Brazilian companies operating internationally. In Europe, it already has direct flights to Paris, London and Milan, and in the United States to Miami and New York.
It also serves various destinations within South America: Buenos Aires and Cordoba (Argentina); Santiago (Chile); Asuncion and Ciudad del Este (Paraguay); Montevideo (Uruguay), and Santa Cruz de la Sierra and Cochabamba (Bolivia). By the end of the year it will begin flights to Caracas (Venezuela). Among the long-haul destinations, it is applying for the right to initiate flights to Frankfurt (Germany) and Madrid (Spain).