By Aaron Karp
LAN Airlines re-launched Aires as LAN Colombia, another sign of the Santiago de Chile-based carrier’s increasingly dominant presence in South America.
LAN already operates affiliates in Peru, Argentina and Ecuador and is in the process of merging with Brazil’s TAM under LATAM Airlines Group, a holding company that will control more than 40% of the South American air passenger market (ATW Daily News, Nov. 21). LAN last year acquired nearly 99% of Aires, Colombia’s second largest domestic airline, for $32 million (ATW Daily News, Oct. 28, 2010).
Bogota-based LAN Colombia operates to 22 domestic destinations and Ft. Lauderdale with a fleet of 26 aircraft. It has a workforce of 1,750 and controls 23% of the Colombian air passenger market.
“Colombia is the second biggest passenger market in South America after Brazil, and it is also the fourth largest economy in Latin America,” LAN said in a statement. “It is also the second most populated country in the region, which makes it very attractive for the airline industry.”
LAN said it has invested $405 million in Aires/LAN Colombia since making the acquisition, funding “the implementation of LAN operational standards, rebranding, as well as fleet updates and expansion, including the incorporation of three new Airbus A320 aircraft.”