Tomorrow Alitalia and Varig will start their joint operation, connecting Italian and Brazilian destinations through a code-share agreement. Recently the Presidents of the two carriers had signed a Memorandum of Understanding leading to a close co-operation on the Italian and Brazilian markets.
The two airlines will now be offering a total of 34 weekly flights between the two countries. Alitalia will operate 6 services a week from Milan Malpensa to Sao Paulo with a Boeing 767ER, and 3 services a week from Rome to Rio de Janeiro with an MD 11. Varig will fly 5 frequencies a week from Rio de Janeiro/Sao Paulo to Milan Malpensa and 3 frequencies a week from Sao Paulo/Rio de Janeiro to Rome with a Boeing 767. All flights will have both AZ and RG flight codes. The two airlines are also co-ordinating handling and airport services, including VIP lounges in both countries.
Alitalia and Varig customers will enjoy a seamless service on a higher number of daily flights, with very convenient connections for both markets, as well as simplified ticketing and reservations procedures. Frequent flyers will be able to accrue and redeem miles on all code-shared routes and on the carriers` respective domestic networks.
” Alitalia continues to pursue its bilateral agreement strategy, consistent with the balanced development of Milan Malpensa and Rome Fiumicino, as well as with the strengthening of its competitive positioning on the strategic markets. Within this framework, Alitalia has chosen to co-operate with Varig, South America`s most important carrier”, declared Giorgio Callegari, Alitalia Corporate Vice President Alliances.
Brazil is one of the most important market for Alitalia in South America. During the year 2000 more than 170.000 passengers travelled with Alitalia between two countries. Varig, with 11 million passengers carried in 2000 and a fleet of 89 aircraft, is one of the largest South American airlines and serves 62 destinations world-wide, including 36 Brazilian cities.