LAN Airlines has launched its fourth affiliate carrier, LAN Colombia.
The move represents an important step into the Colombian market, after LAN acquired AIRES in November 2010, a Colombia-based airline.
LAN Colombia will add 23 destinations to the LAN network, including 22 domestic destinations in Colombia and the international destination of Fort Lauderdale, Florida from Bogota.
“We are proud that the network of LAN Airlines and its affiliates is increasing by 22 new destinations in Colombia, and expanding its connections in South America and the rest of the world”, said Ignacio Cueto, chief operating officer, LAN Airlines.
“Our goal by launching this new affiliate airline is to make it possible for our passengers in all the countries where LAN Airlines and its affiliates operate, to discover Colombia with LAN’s signature world class quality of service.”
LAN Colombia represents a great opportunity and challenge for the airline.
Colombia is the second biggest passenger market in South America after Brazil, and it is also the fourth largest economy in Latin America.
It is also the second most populated country in the region, which makes it very attractive for the airline industry.
“This is excellent news not only for Colombia, but for all of our passengers because they will gain immediate access to important benefits right away and can enjoy the great variety of tourism destinations that Colombia has to offer while enjoying LAN’s world class in-flight experience,” said Cueto.
A year ago, LAN announced the final purchase of 98 per cent of the shares in the Colombian airline AIRES.
The airline has since implemented operational changes, such as modifications to flight schedules, improving efficiency and ensuring that safety standards, and on-time performance, consistent with LAN’s standards.
LAN Colombia has a workforce of 1,750, 23 per cent of domestic market share, and offers the best network of domestic flights within the country with a fleet of 26 aircraft.
Since the acquisition of AIRES, LAN has invested US$405 million in the implementation of LAN operational standards, re-branding, as well as fleet updates and expansion, including the incorporation of three new Airbus A320 aircraft.