SkyTeam partner Alitalia is to open a new connection to Brazil with the introduction of flights to Rio de Janeiro from Rome.
The flights, which will begin on 4 June next year, will complement the Italian airline's Sao Paulo service.
Alitalia says the operation will be thrice-weekly initially, but the frequency will increase to four times per week from July 2011.
The carrier serves Sao Paulo seven-times weekly.
Alitalia will use three-class Airbus A330 aircraft on the Rio route. Under a fleet-renewal programme, Alitalia has taken delivery of two new A330s this year and others are to follow.
Its South American network also includes services to Buenos Aires and Caracas.